The Death Of Star Wars & The Potential Rise of “Foundation” In The Age Of MX

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m developing and writing a novel and as such I have storytelling on the brain. The more professional in my mentality towards this endeavor, the less I want to talk about exactly what I’m doing and how.

But I do find the future of storytelling worth writing about while all of this is going on. It seems to me that the traditional film industry is about to have its Napster moment. Not because some punch in his bedroom creates and app that destroys the movie industry’s business model, but because at some point we’re going to find ourselves in the Ready Player One universe for real for real.

I just don’t see the titans of the movie industry being as fleet footed as the gaming industry. There’s going to come a point between now and, say, 2030, when some upstart gaming startup figures out a way to give us OASIS. When that happens, the passive movies will become the vinyl of Generation Z or beyond.

This is not something I look forward to. I love traditional movies, but the writing is on the wall as they say. All that needs to happen is for MX gear’s price point to be low enough and wireless broadband speeds to be fast enough that it makes economic sense. Traditional Hollywood film studios aren’t going to know what hit them.

Why watch Star Wars, A New Hope, when you can “play” it (or something similar) with a few million other people. The Star Wars universe is big enough that should a MX startup, say, buy Disney, they could create an OASIS-type environment large enough for that to happen. Now, I also love the Foundation series, so logically, it would make more sense for such a startup to buy the rights to Foundation, flesh out the saga’s universe in an MX environment and make $1 trillion.

But, sadly, no one — but no one — listens to me.

And, yet, this is on the horizon. This is happening. It’s just a matter of the details of how, exactly, it does so.

Blogging, The Death Of “Passive” Film & The Rise of MX

by Shelton Bumgarner

Blogging is dead, long live blogging.

I was, in a minor way, one of the first “bloggers,” even though that’s not what it was called nor did I have any influence beyond the readership in the Virginia newspaper business. I used to run the Virginia Press Association’s Website and in about 1999, I turned into a blog.

But those days are long, long gone.

Now, of course, it’s all about Twitter.

This is a really bad situation for a number of reasons, but there’s no easy solution. Twitter’s population says more about us as a culture than it does technology and its uses. The window of opportunity that existed at one point to “kill” Twitter is long closed.

I say this because we’re kind of in a holding pattern before the rise of MX (AR and VR) resets everything and we have a new normal. It’s just taking MX longer than I expected to take over everything. But it is coming and as such everything is going to change in a pretty abrupt manner whenever it does.

Blogging in its traditional form gave a lot of people who would otherwise never get a traditional column in a newspaper an opportunity. This leveled the playing field and led to a brief moment in time when a few people actually were able to become break out stars.

The rise of MX is likely to bring with it a new type of media star as well. It’s possible that the YouTube stars and Twitch stars of today will morph into the MX stars of tomorrow. The notion of telepresence in itself is such a huge disrupter that we’re likely not to know what hit us.

One interesting thing is what will be the MX media company of the future that none of us see coming. What will be the Netflix of MX? While Facebook is obviously in a great position to benefit greatly from MX, it’s likely to be an upstart that fills the media space that doesn’t even exist now.

My best bet whatever it is, it’s going to come from the gaming industry and it will be the thing that is the final death knell of traditional passive movie making. I suspect that movies will, in 20 years, be something along the lines of vinyl. While everyone else is running around an MX environment, “playing” the latest Star Wars immersive movie, a core group of people will want to sit back and watch the passive version of the original movies.

This company — whatever it’s called — will likely warp the entire media landscape in a manner we can’t predict. A lot depends on the vision of its founder. I suspect Facebook will corner the market in AR, while this new company will produce an MX environment that is pretty expansive.

The problem is, of course, that we have no idea who will the winner is or when all of this is actually going to happen. A back-of-the-envelope guess is sometime between now and 2025.

I guess the point is, blogging is where it all started and we’re about to enter a new era where the rules change quickly and in unexpected ways.

A Perfect Storm — #MX & Disrupting Twitter With A Startup To Facilitate Radical Resistance To Trump

By Shelton Bumgarner

We are at an inflection point. The online media business is contracting because it’s based on a 20-year-old lie. At the same time, growing numbers of people know they’re angry about Trump but they can’t quite articulate what it is they feel.

I propose that you could use the passion of what I call The Radical Resistance to found a news and mobilization app that, if designed properly could disrupt Twitter in a big way during this small window of opportunity before MX revolutionizes everything and hits the media reset button.

I have explained this in great detail before (below, and elsewhere.) Anyway, it can be done, just someone needs to be willing to throw cash at the idea.

It goes without saying that a lot of people are unhappy with both Twitter and Trump. It seems pretty obvious as well that if you did a venn diagram of these two groups the overlap would be the core of a new social media service designed to not only kill Twitter, but bring down Trump.

So, even though I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn, here’s how I feel you could accomplish these two goals in tandem.

First, you designed a service from the ground up specifically meant to have a robust on-boarding system as well as one that once and for all fixed the problem of the online harassment associated with bots and trolls. It would likely be popular almost instantly. That is the crux of the weakness with Twitter. Twitter is dead in the water in some respects and it wouldn’t take that much to kill it if you simply addressed the major problems with Twitter in an intuitive, effective manner.

An unintended consequences of all of this is a lot of celebrities, though leaders and content providers who are extremely unhappy with Twitter would flock to a service that gave them a better experience from the get-go. They, in turn, would bring with them a lot followers who simply wanted the opportunity to engage them like they currently do on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a lot of people know that should Trump finally do the unconscionable and fire Bob Mueller, that they’re going to want to take to the streets. But the United States isn’t South Korea. If you wanted to bring down Trump through people power, it would be a complex, national affair. You’d have to keep the protests legal and regular for no other reason than if you just protested without the proper permits, etc., you’d just get arrested.

Bringing down a president with people power in the States would be require the single greatest popular unrest the country has ever seen. It’s the kind of thing social media was designed for, but never, to date, used to do so in a developed country. So, I believe, you’d need a whole new service designed to specifically facilitate massive, regular nationwide protests if you wanted to bring down Trump.

Put these two concepts together in a social media startup, and I think it would be pretty effective. It would serve as the core of a Twitter killer that would blow up pretty quickly.

The question, of course, is how to actually do it. Probably crowdfunding it our best bet. So, it’s likely that we’d have to wait for Trump to fire Mueller before all the pieces fell into place. I just can’t see an angel investor being willing to shell out the money needed to design such a service. But if Trump finally swerved into a full blown autocrat, I think Americans wouldn’t stand for it. America isn’t Turkey, for Christ’s sake.

One feature I think a lot of content providers would like in my vision of this is that Verified account holders would have more power than the average user. I think if you gave specific power to Verified account holders, they would feel they were stakeholders in the service and their engagement would be higher.

As I have said before, I think you should divide the service into Groups that are divided into threaded Discussions. There would also be a strong video element to the service, whereby you’d be able to have four-way video chat with people in the context of a threaded discussion. This doesn’t even begin to address the features you’d need to facilitate people organizing mass protests.

V-Log: Vision 2020 — The Rise Of MX & The Death Of Social Media

by Shelton Bumgarner

The future is on its way, folks.

America 2029: Immersive Media & The Death Of The Film Industry

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m not going to get into the economic, political or environmental dystopia I believe the United States will be in by 2029 unless some very drastic, very radical things change, like, now. So let’s take a walk down what the online media world might look come January 2029.

First, let’s start with a little speculative anecdote.

You’re in your self-driving car, watching the local news as you head home from your 1 day of physically being in the office. (Immersive media has rendered physically going into work nothing more than a cultural chore of habit.) You notice that Gone With The Wind has been released and using a combination of eye movement and non-audible voice commands, you “subscribe” to the “experience” so you and your wife can “play” the immersive movie when you get home.

Your car parks itself and out of middle-aged habit, you check your snail mail. Your neighbor walks by with his dog. The two of you are Facebook friends and as such you barely have a traditional conversation. You eye what’s floating around each other and interact with the immersive Facebook quickly and silently. You might interject a word or two simply because something you interact with is interesting, but in general the event is simply a pause that ends as quickly as it begins.

Walking into your home, you sync up with the home’s IOT environment and as such learn what may or may not have happened in the house while you were busy at work. You always have the option to do this via MX at work, but it’s frowned upon. Your wife comes up and and you hug and see that your young child continues to grow quickly and in a cute fashion. The baby is asleep in her crib, but you see via MX some of the cuter moments of the day. Your wife is on leave because of the baby and will soon return to work. The two of you go to the Ready Player One-type tread mills and proceed to “play” within the Gone With The Wind environment. Thousands of other people have approximately hours to roam around the environment and get to not only see, but interact with, AI actors playing the different parts of the original movie, only now you have photo realistic Vr instead of the passive nature of film. All of this will be produced not by a film studio, but by a gaming studio.

It seems to me that the movie industry in 10 years will be where the newspaper industry is now — contracting in what seems like a moment-by-moment basis, leaving a lot of people looking at each other and wondering, “Why does it still exist?” Leaving out the possibility of a vinyl record-type revival at some point, it’s likely that the video game industry will battle and defeat the movie industry with the rise of immersive media.

I say this because the movie industry — like the newspaper industry — is slow to change and based on a business model that makes some assumptions that will soon enough no longer be true. With the newspaper industry it’s that people are willing to wait as long as 24 hours to read the news, while with the movie industry it will be that people will want to passively watch a story being told in the dark with a group of loud, often rude people. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love movies. I love everything about them. I love how they’re made. I love the rise and fall of stars and I love the sparkly nature of showbiz itself.

But, alas, I love newspapers, too, and in 10 years time, I doubt very many of them will exist.

So, what will replace the movie industry? I suspect it will be the video game industry hyped up on the technological advancements of immersive media. By “immersive media,” I mean what some people refer to as MX (AR/VR). Any media where you are assumed to interact with the media in some way. So once social media becomes integrated with AR, then some basic assumptions we have about the fate of Facebook and Twitter may fall by the waist-side. Meanwhile, the entire movie industry, I fear, simply won’t exist as we know it in 2029. Or, if it does, it will be a fraction of its size or own entirely by different gaming companies.

While in some ways, this is kind of old news, I think from a practical economic and social stand point, we’ve barely scratched the surface of trying to understand how immersive media will change every day life.

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