Unpacking Everyday Use Of This Social Media Service Based On Usenet Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So, what would it be like to actually use this service on a daily basis?

Well, as I see it, what would happen is something like this. You would log-in to the service and see notifications of what people you follow have posted in your newfeed like feature. It’s possible that if you service grew large enough, you might even be able to limit this to different Groups.

But, in general, there would definitely be a Facebook vibe to it in some respects, only everything you were seeing would largely be from people you had no real-life connection to. You would move those people to Facebook should you meet them in real life.

Anyway, after glancing at that information, you might look up to see who had followed you. People who followed you would get notifications of everything you had contributed to the system. This would be a way to cut through the enormous amount of information pumping through the service, should it grow large enough. But once you got past that, you would look at your newfeed more closely and you would begin to interact with the things you saw there.

One interesting conundrum this service might have is how to implement social media concepts that people have grow used to because of Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. I honestly don’t know how you might favorite or share posts you liked. I just don’t know how that would work out yet. I have to give it more thought. I don’t know what the consequences of all of that would be. But those features would be there in some respect. You would have to be careful not to make the service too much like Reddit, Twitter or Facebook in that respect, but that type of feature is something people have grown to expect so you would have to have it.

Now, one interesting thing is, if you interact with stuff in your newsfeed, does it take you to the Group where it was posted? That’s another question I haven’t answered yet. Might initial thinking is, yes. This whole concept is so strong that that is not too difficult to figure out, especially if someone with some design experience would actually listen to me.

But, as I keep saying, I have no money and no one cares what I have to say, so I’m just mentally jerking off about this obsessively for no other reason than I’ve had too much coffee tonight and I am enjoying writing too much.

Anyway, one interesting question is how you would implement discovery of Groups. My initial gut reaction is there would be a feature rich search feature where you would find Groups through either a keyword or the person associated with them who created the group as part of their Verified Account. So, in a sense, for someone coming from Twitter the end experience would be very similar. But it couldn’t be too similar because, well, you don’t want to get sued.

So, you find a group and you join it. You would follow it like you would a person. You could also, I guess, follow an individual person. That is an interesting aspect of this concept — you could follow a Group and not follow the person who was responsible for its creation.

I really think people would really enjoy a service that was much like Twitter but significantly more feature rich. Or, put another way, this service is designed for people like me who want something like Twitter, but don’t really want to use Reddit, either.

Once you joined a group, you would see inside it a IRC-like stream of live text on a portion of the screen. You would dip in an chat some, and if you really wanted to, you could click on a thread and interact with that content as well.

This is a really strong concept. Too bad I’m not only broke, but about 10 years too late. Typical.

Direct Comparisons Between A Service Based On Usenet Against Twitter & Reddit

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So, right now, you have Twitter and Reddit when it comes to what I would call “public” discussion online. Facebook is a whole different type of discussion because the engagement between individual users is higher. In other words, you’re more likely to know the person you’re talking to on Facebook as opposed to Reddit or Twitter.

Let’s do a direct run down of the service I’m daydreaming about against the services it would compete against, Twitter and Reddit.

To me, Twitter is a piece of shit that just happens to have lucked out with Trump’s election. It gives people something to use on a daily basis to interact with strangers they agree with on the latest Trump screw up. But imagine a service that is built, from the ground up with not only the ability to have live, archived text chat with people you don’t know, but you also have the ability to in-line edit posts from your favorite thought leader. And, eventually, you might even be able to do that with content from major publications.

That’s pretty cool.

Twitter is so bad for so many different reasons that it’s difficult for me to articulate it. The major problem with Twitter is it’s a constant deluge of directionless information caused by absolutely no subdivisions beyond poorly implemented “Lists.”

It would be cool if you had even more immediacy than Twitter in addition to the ability to have inline editing of content from others with a full page to make your case. Now, Reddit, in a sense, has something akin to what I’m thinking, but not really. You have something like Groups and you have a main post that you can comment on, but as Reddit is currently designed, you don’t have inline editing of a post in the context of a thread. I find that really fucking annoying. And as far as I know Reddit doesn’t have any of the features of IRC I’d like to integrate, either. Again, one threat to this service would be either Twitter or Reddit redesigning their services to co-op any of the cool stuff you come up with it. But that’s life, bruh. You’d have to keep innovating to combat that. Reddit is more likely to come at you than Twitter, I suspect.

But, whatever. I don’t know. None of this is ever going to happen. But, as I keep saying, it’s fun to talk about. I really love this concept. I wish I knew how to code. I’d start on it right now. But, alas, I’m just a writer you likes to daydream.

Monetizing A Social Media Service Based On The Concepts Of Usenet & IRC

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So, the real question is, how would this service that I keep writing about make money?

That is the point of all of this.

I would say the crux of monetizing this service would be the thing that makes it different than Twitter or Reddit on a fundamental level. Neither Twitter nor Reddit gives me the basic ability to have a threaded post that’s an entire page. Because of the distributed system of Usenet, it was nearly impossible to use what could have been a strength in the manner that people wanted to use. Also, the fact that Usenet effectively years before broadband and the modern Web had much to do with it.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, it is quite curious that if you give it some thought, we’ve made a huge step backwards in online discussion in the last 20 years. It’s very curious. I believe if you were to strike with a discussion service that used the concepts of Usenet and IRC in a way designed to make money you could make a huge amount of it. Like, Facebook money.

I say this because if you look at it the way I look at this situation it’s obvious. Imagine a site where you can seamlessly integrate full-page, targeted ads inside online discussion in a manner that people don’t even realize that they’re engaged with it because they’re so interested in whatever is being sold. This is really cool, especially if you work on the assumption that you will, much like Facebook, learn a huge amount about your user base as things progress.

Not that they’re won’t be problems. There probably will be plenty, but if you design a site from the ground up that both wants to be a discussion platform and an advertising platform the engagement will be so high that you would eventually be making money hand over fist. It just makes total sense. The concept I’ve come up with fixes most of the problems of both Twitter and Reddit in a manner that people won’t mind that they’re getting a nearly constant stream of enormous targeted ads.

It’s too bad no one is listening to me and I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. But it’s fun to talk about, that’s for sure.

Comparing A Service Based On Usenet & IRC Against Reddit & Twitter

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So, in my little daydream, how would this new social media platform based on the concepts of Usenet and IRC compare (and compete) against the established players Twitter and Reddit? I don’t see this service competing directly against either one because of the nature and origins of both Reddit and Twitter.

While this service as I conceive of it would be a lot more like Reddit than Twitter, Reddit simply isn’t what I want. I want a service a lot like Twitter, but designed specifically for discussion, not for posting SMS message to the Web. The biggest problem as I see it with Twitter is it’s user interface is shit and it’s this enormous flood of information that you care barely understand. There is a really sharp learning curve. Or, at least, there was for me.

I remember Usenet and to a lesser extent IRC from 20 years ago as being really, really addictive. Usenet was really a lot of fun and before it was killed by AOL morons it was really cool. There were some fundamental flaws with it, of course. It was based on an honor system of sorts and it was way too inward looking. And, of course, it was completely unprepared for anyone trying to use it to sell anything.

And, not to mention, it was based on distributed computing, so it took time for articles to propagate throughout the system. So, I feel if you took all that into consideration and built an online service from the ground up that used the strengths of Usenet and IRC while eliminating the things that killed at least Usenet, I think something not only addictive and popular but profitable could be established.

One of the key problems with Twitter is, well, so fundamental that it simply can’t be changed without changing the very nature of the service. In an ideal world, Twitter wouldn’t have tweets at all. It would be a lot like IRC. That’s what makes the most sense to naturally evolve into. But the user base isn’t prepared for that.

Meanwhile, I don’t know what is going on with Reddit. I’ve heard rumors that they’re going to revamp their interface, but I can’t imagine it will be all that much. But, you never know, I guess.

I really like the notion of bringing back Usenet — and IRC — concepts in one social media network because if you combine the two you have the makings of a very, very addictive service. And, as such, it could be extremely profitable if you designed it properly from the ground up.

My vision is solid, but, alas, I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. So, this is all mental masturbation. It’s relaxing, if nothing else.