My Vision For Time Magazine: Turn It Into A ‘Twitter Killer’ App Based On Usenet Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner

Of all the legacy media brands that could be used to destroy Twitter, Time Magazine is at the top of the list. The reason is simple — Time Magazine has a major problem and so does Twitter. Time produces a lot of great content, but it’s based on the cycle of a weekly magazine. Meanwhile, Twitter’s problem is even more systemic. Not only is about 10% of Twitter content the only thing worth anything, but it is extremely poorly designed when it comes to what people have come to use it for: having a discussion.

So, with that in mind, I propose that Time’s new owner, Marc Benioff, completely re-imagine Time Magazine as a publication from the ground up. What you do is, take the very core of what makes Twitter popular — writers and editors talking to each other in a public form — and use all the existing writers and editors of Time as the core of an app (and Website) based on the concepts of the long-ago Usenet.

Now, there are some basic flaws with this concept that would have to be managed. Chief among them being how do you scale the concepts of Usenet into the millions? I propose these problems are fixed in several ways. One, you are paying people to essentially post full-time into a discussion app, you can give them a lot more sysadmin control than you might otherwise. They would have a vested interest in curating their “newsgroups” that they were responsible for. Each writer and editor would have any number of newsgroups, or Groups, that they were responsible for. No need for a hierarchy like Usenet once had. You would have redundant Groups focused more an editor or writer than whatever subject.

Meanwhile, if you limited who could post to any particular group, that would greatly control the number of posts into any particular group and as such aid in scaleability. In affect what you would have is discussion of the massive amounts of content generated by Time Magazine native to the content itself. In other words, given that you would have full-page threaded posts in Groups and those Posts would have inline editing, you would give readership an unexpected to date unprecedented since of empowerment. The ability for people to inline edit content from Time Magazine in threaded discussions via an app would be something a lot of readers would enjoy.

Let me be absolutely clear — I know this sounds a lot like Reddit. That comes more from Reddit being a poorly implemented version of Usenet than it does what I suggest is simply Time Magazine copying Reddit. It seems to me that something like turning Time Magazine into an app is just the thing to not only save the magazine, but “kill” Twitter.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

The State Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing For Sept. 16th, 2018

by Shelton Bumgarner

I find myself doing a lot more writing than usual these days. It’s just a matter of putting in the work at this point and not worrying so much about what quality produce I’m producing. It is just the first draft and so it’s more about getting the story down than anything else.

A Speculative Hot Take: What if Cynthia Nixon Wins? #NYPrimary

by Shelton Bumgarner

I honestly don’t think Cynthia Nixon is going to win, but the conditions are there for at least something interesting to happen. I’m seeing chatter on Twitter of reports of high voter turn out and the country’s mood is such that I could see The Resistance at least getting within shouting distance of a massive upset.

I don’t think we would fully comprehend the significance of a Nixon win. The moment is was confirmed, we would realize we were in a new era. Nixon would be catapulted into the ring of a prospective 2020 Democratic nominee for president and the anger and energy of the Resistance would be hard to deny.

But, like I said, I am not prepared to say she’s going to win. I just think things are going to be…interesting. This is going to be an example of the Democratic Establishment getting the shit scared out of it by the passionate Left of the Resistance. But who knows. It will be interesting.

A Nixon win would be a thunderclap going into the 2018 mid-terms. It would be the first concrete evidence that this year is not going to be run-of-the-mill. Washington would be in total shock and the Republicans would probably be quivering in abject fear as to what might happen to them come November.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m sensing something that’s not there.

I sure do, on a personal level, need a unexpected upset tonight.

Stranger Things At The Sunspot Observatory & Mulling The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner

In these videos, I talk a little bit about the mysterious events at the Sunspot Observatory and a lot about the scifi novel I’m writing. You get to see me think out my next course of action with my novel. You’ll either find it extremely interesting or very, very dull.

V-Log: The State Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing As Of Sept. 12, 2018

by Shelton Bumgarner

The premise of the scifi novel I’m writing is a mysterious wall appears in Virginia that surrounds the rural Piedmont region. The story is what happens after the wall is built and its consequences. While it sounds a lot like Stephen King’s Dome, there is much, much, much more to it than that.

I just don’t feel like telling you right now.

But I’ve reached the point in the story where I need to explore the world that the Wall has created. That’s my immediate goal — figuring out which character is going to be the reader’s avatar in exploring that world.

There’s A Real Chance The Trump Administration Will Botch The Hurricane Florence Response

by Shelton Bumgarner

It seems to me that there’s a decent chance the Trump Adminstration is really going to screw up the Federal response to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. But who knows. Only time will tell, I guess.

V-Log: The State Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing As Of Sept. 12, 2018

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am starting from the beginning of my novel yet again, but I’m going to be re purposing a lot of material I’ve already written. I’m slowly getting a sense of what this story is about, even though I still need to do a lot of backend hard work that I just haven’t managed to do yet.

But we’ll see. I have one really strong chapter written and it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing the work.

Here’s a sample of the one chapter I’ve managed to write that’s pretty good.

Tagger looked up as he drove and watched as the thousands of small pods he’d just seen fall from the sky along what he assumed was the Virginia – North Carolina border slowly bury themselves into the ground.  He went just across the affected area that was now rumbling, parked his car and stood in amazement as an enormous wall-like structure began to slow ascend from ground nearby. He snapped out of his rever long enough to notice that Nuk had also driven across the border and was standing next to him.

The wall was what looked like 30 feet deep and was quickly reaching at least 30 feet in height. It was slow and steady in its growth and they watched a few cars attempted a last ditch effort to cross the ever-growing wall. Titanic sounds could be heard to their left and right as the the wall destroyed everything it its path towards the sky.

In the middle of all of this, he hear the sound of a strange push notification on his phone. He looked down and saw a new app with a strange icon of three interlocking stars on his smartphone.

He hit the app’s icon and it quickly began to sink in the significance of all of this. According to the App, the wall was the handy work of a galactic spanning civilization which called itself the Galactic Collective. As he watched the wall in front of him grow taller and more imposing by the moment, he struggled to comprehend it all.

It was First Contact. Humanity wasn’t alone in the universe, after all.

A small, curious crowd began to assemble and walk towards the gigantic black wall. After about 10 minutes of constant growth, there appeared to be some stabilization in the height of the wall. It registered that Nuk was live streaming all of this with her phone and without thinking about it, he slowly walked up to the towering wall and placed his hand flat on its surface. This scene became quite historic in the coming days, with nearly a billion views on YouTube  in a week. For his part, Tagger’s mind was having difficulting processing the sheer enormity of what he was seeing.

The first notification on the app also noted that the area surrounded by the wall would be immediately evacuated. How this was going to happen, was unclear. Tagger and Nuk looked in shocked as the realized they were now walled off from the rest of the world. From his initial inspection of the First Contact App, there were some basic things immediately apparent — the Galactic Collective not only was well-versed in human civilization, but they had particular interest in English speakers. The First Contact App was only available in American English, required at least a limited knowledge of some basic Western concepts and seemed directed specifically at what traditionally would be referred to as the Western World.

Tagger then noticed Nuk frantically making phone calls as all of this was happening. It sounded like she was on the phone with her editor in New York City. Once the call was over, she looked at Tagger, her eyes enormous.

“Tagger,” she said. “You’re a star now. Like, a huge star. You’re the first person ever recording touching proof of alien life.”

The shock was beginning to wear off and Tagger looked at Nuk. She was a striking brunette with long black hair that reached past her shoulders

They heard a slow humming sound from the interior of the wall and they looked on in amazement as large holes could clearly be seen forming in the wall in front of them. In a moment something clicked in Tagger’s mind and he started racing to his car. “Get in if you want to live!” he screamed at Nuk.

Within seconds of them closing their car doors, there was a loud “whoosh!” sound as millions of microscopic black objects zoomed past their car. After a moment, the thick black cloud produced by these snowflake-sized probes could be seen dispersing into the cityscape ahead of them. Without thinking, Tagger gunned the gas and made his way through the city.

Whatever the mission of the black cloud, it was sufficiently distracted at the moment that they could make their way safely through the now abandoned streets of the city at high speed.  A small backwater of about 40,000 souls, this was the most excitement the city of Danville had seen since it was the last capital of the Confederate States of America in 1865. The city had seen far better days and up until a few minutes ago appeared doomed to quietly shrink into oblivion.

Driving towards Tagger’s house, they looked intently around them in constant fear they would see the black cloud again .

V-Log: Idle Rambling About The State Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m just trying to talk my way through the novel at this point.

The 2018 Mid-Terms, Trump Losing The Mandate Of Heaven & His Ultimate Political Endgame

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am extremely reluctant to be all that hopeful about the upcoming Congressional mid-terms. At best, I suspect it’ll be a wash. As such, Trump will be significantly emboldened and he’ll fire everyone he needs to fire, pardon everyone he needs to fire and the coverup will be a success.

ICE will be weaponized and they’ll start rounding up people like me. Within a year, I’ll be in some detention center, boning up on my Spanish. That seems to be what is going to happen. Having said that, however, I do find myself idly daydreaming about what would happen if there *was* a Blue Wave. It’s slowly becoming obvious that Trump is losing the Mandate of Heaven and if the United States remains in any way a democracy, political gravity will finally, finally, finally kick in and Trump’s actions will begin to have some consequences.

I really want to just tune out from the mid-terms. I want to wake up in mid-December and know one way or another what has happened. That is not realistic, however much I wish I could do it. The political silly season is everywhere and there’s just no where to turn. I’m going to have to deal with living on the edge for roughly the next two months. There is so much that could go wrong that I just don’t know how I’m going to deal with it should the worst happen. I got my hopes up in 2016 and I vowed to myself I would never let that happen again.

The thing is, there is a non-zero chance that Trump is simply such a bad president on a basic human level that despite all the headwinds, there might, in fact, actually be a Blue Wave. One of the reasons why its difficult for me to wrap my head around this possibility is how dramatically things will change. Suddenly there will be some political oversight for Trump which, in turn, may very well drive him even more batshit insane.

There’s just so much that Trump might do should there be a Blue Wave that it could very well be the most surreal domestic political environment in the United States since the end of the Civil War. I am firmly in the camp that says should we miraculously manage to not only impeach Trump, but convict him, that he will not physically leave the White House willingly. There could very well be a shoot out on the front lawn of the White House. Trump could do any number of surreal things from vowing to kill himself on Twitter, to starting WWIII. I’m not kidding. I really think he might do that.

If we don’t manage to get rid of Trump even though there’s a Blue Wave, that will be the setup for some pretty bizarre times. But, like I said, I refuse to give myself hope. The worst is going to happen and I just have to accept it.

I Want To Start A #Rock Band In #RVA

by Shelton Bumgarner

One of the things I learned during my time in Seoul is I’m a really good singer. I’m really good at singing Radiohead songs and I also enjoy writing lyrics, even though as of the moment I know nothing about music. I’m currently working on a novel, but I find myself going to karaoke nights around Richmond and realizing again and again that I am a good enough singer to be the lead singer of a rock band.

But this is not going to happen over night or easily.

I don’t live in Richmond’s Fan district and I barely have enough money to eat, much less go to practice — or gigs — in the Fan on a regular basis. But I’m hoping maybe if I have some reason to have more money, I’ll feel inspired to hit the pavement for more work in response.

And, yet, I just don’t know. I think I probably should kinda just focus on the novel for the time being. It’s highly unlikely anyone will pay any attention to me, no matter how hard I try. But I really enjoy performing and singing and I think if a few people gave me a chance, I could probably do well enough to be a decent lead singer of a rock band.

But we’ll see, I guess.

If you live in the RVA area and are interested in my idea, please contact me at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.