This project launched a bit too early, honestly… perhaps when it was only two-thirds or so finished. I promoted it only amongst a few friends and with a casual blog post, as well. There were some features that were never turned on, although its core functionality was finished and stable. — Ultimately, though, I ended up changing employers just after its first public release, and decided to shut the platform down shortly thereafter.
“Shh…” was a sort of IRL social network. First, you'd connect with a few core friends via a trusted medium, such as in real life either by scanning QR codes generated in-app or by exchanging links through an established chat thread on some other, non-anonymized messaging platform. Then, you would simply post messages either selectively to friends or to everyone you knew in the app, and they would only be able to guess who they were from. Messages could then spread throughout the entire network, not just to your directly connected friends.
Even though you were directly connected to your friends, they wouldn't know if a message someone had written was from you, or from one of your friends, or from one of their other friends, or from one of anyone's friend's friends, or beyond. Messages that you had read could spread to your friends, then their friends, and then their friend's friends, and ultimately not stop forwarding until “dying out” at the compounding mercy of each recipient's voluntary or involuntary reactions and some server/client-side algorithms. The message forwarding flow in some ways resembled behaviors in Conway's Game of Life.
Furthermore, the system was designed in a way so that all messages were encrypted both locally on device and also end-to-end in transmission. This meant that the data traveling between friends and various other friends' devices (and beyond) was not readable by anyone “in the middle” who was not a designated recipient… such as the app's server and cloud system providers, anyone's internet service provider, any engineers working on the app's platform, nor even if all of the data were to leak and be shared publicly somewhere online. Decrypting these “256-bit encrypted blobs” en masse would be a cryptographic undertaking of considerable size.
I'd written the iOS app's entire client-side codebase in Objective-C, a language that I'd also begun more so to distance myself from in the years leading up to this app's retirement. My major, personal iOS projects until then had all been written in this language, but my interests had shifted increasingly and more dramatically toward Swift with its newer versions, ABI stability, and ultimately with the unveiling of “SwiftUI.”
It's tremendously challenging to launch social networking products, but they are fun. Communication is the backbone of the smartphone's popularity, and some chat applications are incredibly successful. I would love to have a simple, anonymized feed to post messages to with friends (and beyond), but developing products takes a lot of time.
“Shh…” was discontinued in early 2020.