What does it mean to build a social network in 2023? And why the heck would anyone want to try?
Those are two of the many questions we posed to Noam Bardin, the former CEO of Waze, and now the CEO and founder of Post.News, which launched in some ways as a refuge for Twitter ex-pats and a refutation of most of the major social networks disdain for news—you know, that important pillar of a functioning democracy currently being blocked by Meta in this country?
“Canada is at the forefront. Yes, mistakes are being made, but at least they’re doing something. The US is doing nothing. And at the end of the day, these are American companies that are destroying the world.”
And if there’s one takeaway you should have from this episode, it’s that Bardin wants you to know Post is very available for Canadians looking for a social media news fix.
But we’ve talked about that stuff on the podcast a lot, and while Noam offers some interesting words of encouragement for Canadians, Rob and I were honestly much more interested in the process of building a social network in this day and age. For a few big reasons: because the internet is changing, and so is our relationship to it (often not in good ways). But also small ones: what does the product roadmap of a digital community look like?
Noam has a lot of ideas about all of the above, and is pretty transparent that he’s liberally borrowing a lot of components from other platforms—a little bit of Twitch creator support here, Wikipedia’s content moderation there, a healthy dollop of video game microtransactions—applying it all to a new social network where paying for news, consuming news, and talking about news is the point, not just something to drive engagement and serve better ad CPMs.
So how is it working out?
Well, you’ll have to consume the full episode to find out, but i’ll say this: while Post speaks to one of my core Twitter use cases, a lot of the people that I loved speaking to on Twitter are trying to run things back on Bluesky. It seems like the most interested participants in Post right now might be the news publishers themselves—which, again, speaks to the current state of our internet.
So what’s it like building a new social network in 2023? Let’s dig in.
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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Produced & edited by Kattie Laur.