Sieve was an idea for a multimedia inspiration engine, largely inspiredby AI-driven solutions and some need to decrease the insane amount ofinformation that I was consuming at this point in time of my life. It'sdefinitely still viable, but to get off the ground is going to require ahuge amount of data plumbing, and it might get you banned fromInstagram/Twitter/Social terms of service… APIs are being deprecated ascompanies are less and less willing to allow you to access their stuff.


To give others a brief summary of the idea and its goals, Sieve issimilar to existing social media and content aggregation services (I seeit as being most similar to Tumblr) but it:

  • Supports only open standards (RSS!)
  • Prioritizes content, has few or no social features whatsoever
  • Views are content-specific, because the best view for images is notthe best for video, audio, or articles
  • The recommendation engine doesn't track users or collect any userdata; it functions only by examining content you've saved.

Prior Work

Tumblr Isolate imagebrowser

Value Proposition

  • Aggregates content from the user's other social media and contentfeeds with little or no effort.
  • Filters incoming content and sorts it according to media type.
  • Views are media-first and are designed to prioritize focusing oncontent rather than social interaction.


Sieve aspires to serve as a feed for content aggregation andexploration, removing unnecessary distractions from other platformswhile collecting and displaying their content.

It allows for the viewing of other social media and content platforms inone place from a variety of mediums – video, audio, pictoral, andwritten.

It provides multiple views conducive to each type of content to enhancethe exploratory experience, and allows for saving types of content forlater as well as publishing such content to your own.

At first, this engine that will be self-hosted, and the self-hostedinstance will independently generate content best for you provided linksto follow.

To improve usability, this may extend to a service in which users cancreate their own workspaces and subscribe to the feeds of others('meta-feeds'), though the focus of this project is to provide a varietyof different ways to customize and display content.


Operationally, Sieve is an RSS feed reader – but one that putsmultimedia content first. It can be provided feeds and can crawl theinternet for topics similar to those already in feeds via a web crawlerand content aggregation system.

The innovation here is the multiple views of content it provides – whileattribution is important, other aspects of social content publicationcan be distracting or addicting. Sieve doesn't have 'likes', 'follows',or 'comments' – it seeks only to provide different ways of viewing thecontent we already interact with on other platforms.

On the back end, Sieve scans each of the feeds a user follows to find acohesive 'theme' or 'style' from the content it displays, andprioritizes displaying more of the content a user saves. It does nottrack you or learn from you in any other way.


Sieve is minimal first. No clutter.

It puts the content first and hides all excess information, allowing for'focused' inspiration without potential distractions.

Previous efforts with seamless, content-first design include Archillect.This project seeks to avoid creating a new Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook– those platforms have become too bloated and interaction-driven.

This platform seeks to minimize interaction with other users and insteadprioritize interaction with their content.

These distractions are deliberately obfuscated, hidden behind menus andobscured by a minimal interface – the content itself.

There are no notifications, no numbers, no flashing visual cues toindicate additional information, as these are flaws that all make socialmedia content more addictive. It's as simple as visiting a page andviewing content catered to the user.

Image View

The image view presents itself as a multipanel scrolling feed ofimage-based content. This scrolling can be infinite or paginated. I'lllikely implement the latter first. Images can be clicked to open alarger view of the image and to view attribution if available.

Video View

This is probably the trickiest to get right; it may end up being animage view with GIFs instead of just images, but that would disparageany audio content that the videos may contain.

The information density of audio in videos is much worse than audio inisolation, so playing audio may not be relevant to the content, butproviding a distraction free way to consume this content feelsnecessary.

Sound View

This view will be similar to the 'theatre mode' that many servicesalready provide, showing an oversized album cover while playing aspecific song.

It'll focus on playing previews of songs rather than their entirecontents so that the media can be set aside and continue to be consumedon another platform.

Article View

RSS is overwhelming and often doesn't present the information you'reinterested in – even good writers are bad at summarizing their owncontent and prioritizing the information that readers want, and oftenblogs address a variety of topics rather than focusing on a subset ofarticles that a specific reader may be interested in reading.

As such, the article view aims to do a few things that other servicescurrently do not accomplish:

  • Generate a summary of the content provided on the page
  • Prioritize articles based on content of previously saved content
  • Always use user-customizable feeds for such content

These articles will be viewable through a 'reader view' that the articleview provides.

Advanced features for the article view include saving individualpassages as opposed to entire articles.


In addition to sorting based on type of media, users should be able toidentify categories that they're interested in. These categories areused by the recommendation algorithm under the hood and content istagged with one or more of these categories when it enters Sieve.

Viewing Saved Content

This operates identically to the inspiration views, but it only showscontent you've already saved.

Future Considerations

I have several adjacent ideas that, while outside the scope of thisproject, could be added in the future.

  • A service for viewing your own, internal content in the same way thatusers of Sieve consume external content.
  • A way to 'sieve' through integration with content on other platforms,including a bookmarking system that automatically determines the typeof content that was bookmarks and places it in the appropriate placeon the user's feed.


I believe this project to be a viable product.

The open-source version will be provided entirely for free, and willprovide the Sieve engine. No user accounts, following, liking, etc. willbe involved with this draft (federation might be cool in the far futurebut it's by no means necessary). However, people will be able to try outand use the service on an individual basis by hosting it themselves.

The commercial features:

  • Views should be plugins. They can be associated with a specific typeof content and will display that content in a manner best fit for it.
  • Users should be able to make their own accounts and start their owninspiration engines for a fee or with advertisements interspersingtheir content.
  • Users should be able to follow other users. Following other users addsposts those users have saved to their own feeds; these posts then showthat they came through those users. This is as far as the socialinteraction on this platform will go.
  • External platforms should be added and supported; i.e. Instagram RSSfeeds through Bibliogram. The aggregation of external platforms ishuge for external users to hop on and start focusing on this platform.

Tools bibliogram for subscribing toinstagram invidio for youtube forparsing rss from elixir backend reader with Go ascetic RSSreader without server. 4kb and beautiful, works offline


Sieve's search shouldn't help users find whatever they'd like; rather,it plays a curatorial role in the process.

someone tweeted about rss rewind, where you're able to replay feeds dayby day to trace the news, articles, etc chronologically what's in yourrss feed interviews!

seenaburns/isolateis a lightweight tool for viewing art inspiration.

memory metadata – When I take a photograph of my sister and niece on myiPhon… is an exploration ofthe metadata of a photo, reflecting on what it means to capture a momentin time.

Scattered recommendation engine ideas

  • Add inputs you like to different 'channels'
  • Submit collections of data and get to see the generated channels fromthat data
  • good design aesthetic