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

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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.

A Mobilization & Organization App For The Resistance As ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Things are kind of dire, folks. The reason why I suggest we design a mobilization and organization app for The Resistance now is we need it to exist now for one the real fights — the fights we dare not even begin to imagine — are thrust upon us. So maybe someone, somewhere is already working on what I suggest, maybe they aren’t.

All I know is we really need one right now.

In my imagination, the app I want would could be a stepping off point for a Twitter Killer. The alt-Right already has Gab, why shouldn’t The Resistance have it’s own site / app? The thing about Twitter is it’s completely useless and will grow ever more so in the coming days.

So why not someone in The Resistance design an app that not only addresses the existing issues people have with Twitter, but also is designed from the ground up to facilitate people getting involved in democracy on a personal level. It can’t possibly be that difficult to think up a basic feature set. There is growing momentum in The Resistance for direct action and if you had an app that channeled that energy productively, I think you’d have yourself a hit.

The obvious question is why not just use existing apps to organize? Well, they’re too easily manipulated by foreign powers. Bots are a real problem on Twitter just as fake accounts and trolls are a big problem on Facebook. I have a pretty complete vision for an app / site in my head and it wouldn’t be too difficult to repurpose it for the specific vision.

Of course, there is the issue that if the center-Right uses Gab and the center-Left uses the app I suggest that we will finally be completely within our echo chambers to such an extent that there will be zero communication between the two groups. But as I said, things are really dire and we need to worry about stuff like that later.

We really need to design an app to organize and mobilize The Resistance.

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

A Call To Arms: Someone Design An Organization & Mobilization App For The Resistance

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Things have grown so dire in just the last few days, that we need to think outside the box. We have to be ready now for the inevitable clash that Trump is going to provoke in his rapacious quest for absolute power. If the recent change in Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy has show anything, it’s that pretty much the only part of our democracy that is working is the part where public outrage actually has some sort of affect.

Other than that, we’re on our own.

I suggest someone, say Crooked Media, design an app that is specifically invented to facilitate mass organization and mobilization on the part of The Resistance. It could do everything from facilitate people registering to vote, to ride shares to protests to how to get in touch with local Resistance leaders who might be planning a protest in the first place.

It can’t possibly be that difficult. I would do it myself, but I have no money, can’t code and don’t really want to learn. But Crooked Media seems to have the means, motive and opportunity to designed the type of app I crave.

Too bad things are going to have to get a lot worse before anyone takes me up on the idea.

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

Mulling A Trump Jump To Gab

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’ve been hearing rumblings that Trump — or at least his social media team — are thinking about working with that insane Right wing echo chamber of bonkers thought known as Gab. It would make a lot of sense. Trump is all about the base and if he simply walked away from Twitter to use Gab full time in would definitely give him what he wanted.

Of course, the enormous rush of liberals to Gab to hate read Trump’s pronouncements on Gab would be something pretty astonishing. But I don’t know. I really hate Twitter, but Trump going to Gab is inevitable but rather tragic. The only answer, of course, is for the center-Left to come up with its own social media platform.

Who would do it and what it would look like is something of a mystery.

The Unbearable Lightness Of Trying To Work For Slate

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So Slate has an opening I’m qualified for, but, alas, since I don’t, like, have a career in social media I have no paid job I can point to show I’m qualified. So now I think I’m going to wallow in self pity and work on my novel. I may try to think of something to explain why I think I’m good enough to work for Slate, but it’s going to be difficult.

I guess I should have done something with my life the last six years instead of dwell on the past, huh.

But while we’re on the subject of social media, I would like to note that I suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot about Gab between now and 2020. Just imagine if Trump walked away from Twitter altogether and started using Gab exclusively as a way to talk to his base.

That would turn the social media world upside down.

I don’t know how likely it is that that would happen, but it’s definitely something to mull.

I Am Frustrated With Twitter. We Need A ‘Twitter Killer’ #startup

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I should be going to bed, but I can’t help myself. I keep finding different angles for a Twitter Killer based on Usenet and IRC concepts. The two things put together would be a one-two punch that would fell Twitter and maybe take Reddit along with it.

I say this because Twitter is a complete piece of shit.

It’s barely useful. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s useful despite itself. I want a service that organizes the huge amount of information that a public service like Twitter generates, but does so in a much more friendly manner than Reddit.

That’s the thing, Reddit is probably closer to what I’m looking for…and yet, I don’t like it. I don’t like it because I want something based directly on Usenet concepts, not watered down. I think young people would be delighted with an updated version of Usenet (at least the version I have come up with) and I also think you could make a lot — a lot — of money.

I say this because as I have thought the service up, you would interact with subjects you were interested in in a self-selecting manner that would allow the service to offer up extremely specific ads that you wouldn’t mind interacting with. At least, that seems the most logical use of the service relative to my vision for it.

I just like the idea that I could go to a specific Group created by a Verified Account holder about this or that topic and there would be a steady stream of people talking about a subject I was interested in. It would be live chat, not the weird delayed discussion that Twitter has. Then, should the owner of the Group post something, we could respond to it with inline editing and a full page.

Now, I debate if that particular aspect of the service is needed. Should anyone be able to start a thread? I just don’t know for sure. It makes more sense for that to be so, and yet. Maybe it should be up to individual Admins. Maybe that would be a feature they could decide upon. That makes the most sense.

I think that would be the answer to a lot of problems — when in doubt make it an option you could access from a pull down menu.

I don’t know anything. Everyone should ignore me. But I do have practical end-user experience with social media so this is just me daydreaming. I am, however, really frustrated with Twitter. Something needs to be done about that. Someone, somewhere, needs to come up with something to replace Twitter. Twitter is so very annoying.

Of Usenet, IRC & A Proposed ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Only because this really bugs me do I keep writing about this. It just strikes me as odd that there are well-established design concepts that existed 20 years ago that we no longer have in public online discussion. I’m thinking specifically, of course, of Usenet and IRC. Usenet more than IRC for reasons that will become clear soon enough.

Compared to today’s online discussion systems, Usenet was both extremely difficult to use and surprisingly feature rich. The closest thing to Usenet today is Reddit, but I find Reddit useless and poor implementation of Usenet concepts. It seems pretty obvious to me that if Silicon Valley could stop drooling over AR and VR long enough to pay attention, they would see that an online discussion service that brought back the concepts of Usenet in conjunction with IRC would be both popular and profitable.

One of the things that killed Usenet 20 years ago was no one knew how to use it to make money because it was designed for discussion, not money. But if you learned from Facebook, it wouldn’t be too difficult to design something like Usenet that wasn’t so much like Reddit that people just shrugged and said meh. There was a lot going on with Usenet that we simply don’t have anymore. It’s really strange. Over the last 20 years, we too a quantum leap back in functionality when it comes to online discussion.

If you would somehow combine the concepts of Usenet and IRC in a big way, in a way that the masses could understand and enjoy, I think both popularity and profit would quickly come your way. Again, I have to note, I’m just a dreamer. I just daydream a lot and remember using Usenet 20 years ago and loving it and now in middle-age I miss it a lot. I long for the functionality of Usenet in an online service that aims to eat Twitter’s lunch. Twitter, unlike Facebook, seems really weak. In the past, I thought there was a chance to go head-to-head with this concept against Facebook, but after much thinking I realize it’s Twitter, not Facebook that a Usenet/IRC concept combo would be most effective.

Not only is it really weird that Usenet has vanished into the mists of time, but IRC has, too. Now, of course, in the enterprise, Slack exists. But 20 years ago AOL was making so much money from chat rooms they were able to buy Time-Warner. So, obviously, there is a use case for what I suggest. And it makes a lot of sense, at least to me, that the next step for the Twitter space would be live chat like what we found with IRC and AOL Chat Rooms 20 years ago. But there is a real chance that AR & VR is where all the money is going to and there’s no changing that.

And, yet, a little part of me can’t help but continue to daydream. I really did love Usenet 20 years ago and it would be so much fun to have that functionality available again. There is just so much you could do with the many features that Usenet had if you updated them to modern social media expectations. But, alas, I fear it’s going to remain just a daydream. Which, at least in my opinion, is too bad.

Yet More Idle Mulling Of A ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have discussed this at great length, but it does seem to me that the time is ripe for a “Twitter Killer.” Twitter is a mess. It was never designed for discussion and pretty much it’s completely useless. It serves a cultural purpose and as such we force it to work, but in real terms it’s completely useless.

The ironic thing is, 20 years ago, people had online tools that were significantly better than Twitter. I speak, of course, of Usenet and IRC. Now, some of the functionality of Usenet exists with Reddit, but it’s so poorly implemented as to be useless at least for me. I have heard rumblings that they’re going to revamp their interface, so maybe some of my complaints will be addressed by Reddit sooner rather than later. Time will tell, I guess.

But 20 years ago, Usenet was a public discussion system that, at its height in about 1996, was a large-scale discussion system that was feature rich and allowed for any number of different use-cases that simply aren’t found with Twitter. You had full-page posts. You had robust threading. You had subdivision of topics. Meanwhile, with IRC — or AOL Chatrooms, for that matter — you had massive live chat taking place. Now, the only place you can find IRC-type functionality is with enterprise Slack.

Anyway, the point is, I feel that while Silicon Valley is mentally masturbating about bitcoin and VR & AR that someone, somewhere should design a service for the masses that draws directly from Usenet and IRC. Maybe not a direct copy, but something similar that is easy to use and yet has the functionality of those two services in the same place. I have gone into great detail about my vision for this on my Instagram account, but I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn, so it’s highly unlikely I would be involved with anything should it ever happen.

I feel as though this is ever-more-urgent now that Trump is president and he is a creature of Twitter. Maybe if we killed Twitter, replaced it with something a bit more feature rich, then the service in itself would in some way mitigate Trump as a media animal. Maybe I’m being delusional, maybe I’m not.

I have given this a lot of thought, and to me, what you do is you give Verified Account holders a little bit more power than the average user. Maybe they, alone, could create topic subdivisions, which I call “Groups.” Within Groups would be “Discussions.” Discussions, depending on my mood, would be something like live chat that had a feature rich option to use video and entire page posts. Or something. Something where you had the best of both IRC and Usenet with a dash of video thrown in for good measure.

Regardless, I just really like talking about this because Trump worries me and anything that might take a bite out of his media ability is something that would make all of us safer. But, like I said, I don’t have any hope. Unless I fall into a huge amount of money and can do this my self, nothing will come of it. Oh well.

Talk To Me Internet: Mulling A #Startup Concept

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have an idea for a social media startup that I’ve been pondering for years now and here is the latest version of it.

See, you would have “Groups” that could only be created by verified accounts. Within groups, you would have live text chat that filled a third of the screen. On the other two thirds of the screen, you’d see threads, or “discussions” that were made up of recorded four way video chat with an associated text post that could be in-line edited by others.

Anyway, that’s the vision.