Some basic problems exist online that a new discussion service devoted to updating the concepts of Usenet and IRC could fix. The first major problem is content providers continue to struggle to make money online. I believe if you designed a service based on the concepts of Usenet you might not be able to fix the problem but you could definitely ameliorate it.
I say this because what if you came to an profit sharing agreement with major online content providers so they could shoot out their content into this new service with all their ads intact. People would be able to inline edit the content, pick it apart in discussion and still be exposed to all the ads from the original content provider. This is pretty powerful I think. If, say, there was breaking news and the Washington Post or New York Times shot the story in its entirety into this discussion service, all the ads associated with the story would be seen as people were engaging actively with the content. This, in a sense, would take blogging to the next level.
I think that’s pretty cool.
Meanwhile, there is another problem: thought leaders are really growing tired of Twitter. It seems pretty obvious that if you gave them a better option they would bolt Twitter and bring their community and its collected fans along with them. If you told celebrities and other thought leaders that you gave them a service that gave them exclusive administrative goodies they probably would be extremely pleased. Giving verified account holders the exclusive ability create and manage newsgroups (or whatever they’re called in the service) would attract them in droves and be the basis of the new service’s initial success.
There are seemingly an endless different ways you could use this service when it comes to thought leaders. Imagine a major musician dropping a track into the service in such a way that people could discuss it between themselves with significantly more engagement than the typical tweet. Or, hell, for that matter, you could put an entire podcast into the service and people could debate the podcast with great gusto. I really like that one.
Anyway, as I keep saying, I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. It’s just fun to write about this. Though, if you want to see me talk about this at great length, look at my Instagram account.