Drained by the algorithm? Explore is an ad-free social media platform built for creatives

The social media platform, whose users include Malika Favre and Luis Mendo, values creative work and meaningful connections over follower counts.

8 February 2023

In 2022, many creatives were questioning their place on social media platforms that didn’t seem built for them anymore. From algorithms favouring Reels over static posts on Instagram – isolating many illustrators and designers working in this medium – to illustrators like Wilfrid Wood expressing frustration at drops in engagement. Much of the in-site design that was holding creatives back, like algorithms and like counts, felt inescapable on leading social media sites. However, one brand, established in 2017, is proving that you can create a quality-driven platform while rejecting the very same features. That’s where Explore comes in: a platform built solely around the needs of creative users.

Designer Krists Dārziņš co-founded the platform with Mārcis Loķis after feeling “increasingly less connected” on other platforms. “I missed being surrounded by my peers, other creators, exchanging ideas and supporting each other,” says Krists. Explore refers to itself as an “emotionally intelligent platform”; it’s aimed at creatives who want to build meaningful relationships and share their work on a platform that values it.

It ticks a lot of important boxes when it comes to user experience. First and foremost, Explore is completely ad-free; it does not use private data to sell ads and markets itself around its respect for privacy. In fact, the platform has done away with algorithms completely, swapping out follower and like counts, which can often pressurise the experience of sharing work, to focus on fostering more meaningful conversations and feedback between creatives. Low engagement can be discouraging for a creative at any level, so Explore is set up to create a more healthy relationship between the artist and their work – and remove competition between peers from the experience as a result.


Copyright © Explore Family

The design of Explore is deliberately simple. To draw attention to the work shared across the site, the platform has established a clean space for creatives to host their portfolios. Any visual creator, whether you’re a designer, photographer or animator, can post images or videos of any length and have control over what content they see on the platform.

Scrolling through Explore, you can discover a wide range of projects, many of which have appeared on It’s Nice That, like the wonderful 3oo site from Maxim Aksenov and Evgeniya Dyupina. Plus, you’ll also find thoughtful context from creatives around their work. So far, illustrators like Malika Favre and Luis Mendo have signed up, along with creative studio Sawdust. Anyone feeling ready to refresh their relationship with their work and fellow creatives online, can head to the Explore site to find out more.

GalleryCopyright © Explore Family

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Explore is an emotionally intelligent ad-free social media platform for creatives who value their work and treasure meaningful relationships.

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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