A Hot Take On The BlueSky Twitter Clone

by SIhelt Garner

I finally got past the gatekeepers and got access to the BlueSky Twitter clone. It’s fine, I guess, but it’s so full of smug, wealthy Twitter liberal exiles that I find myself feeling extremely insecure about my drunk crank loser life.

The general vibe of BlueSky is a high end cocktail party before the booze kicks in. Everyone is normal and interesting and complains about First World Problems in the a way that is normal and expected. In short, BlueSky evokes the vibe of a mid-1990s WELL.

It’s all rather boring.

And the service is so small that it’s all rather disconcerting. I churn out my usual freaky weirdo content and I’m totally ignored. I guess that’s to be expected. But something about that also grates on my nerves. Something about the smug nattering nabobs of negativism ignoring me plays into my own insecurities about my lot in life.

It evokes a “what does it all mean” sentiment on my part.

This angst reminds me of my long-held belief that if you’re really weird, you will have friends and if you’re “normal” you’ll have friends. But if you’re like me and aspire to be “normal” but act like a freaky weirdo because you have no idea what you’re going, then, well, you’re fucked.

It’s also interesting to me that the very thing that makes the service so popular to its smug, wealthy users is the very thing that makes it a has-been in the Twitter-clone space: a lack of the great unwashed masses.

The want to have their private virtual circle jerk and yet they also want the service to be popular. Wanting these two things is not viable. Anyway. Lulz. No one listens to me.

A Casual Assessment Of The Twitter Clones

by Shelt Garner

I’ve signed up for all the major Twitter clones and here is a half-assed review of what I’ve found.

Pebble: it’s fine. Not a lot of people use it, though.
Post: Meh.
Spoutable: This one is actually rather hopping at times.
BlueSky: a high end smug liberal cocktail party before the booze kicks in.

X Marks The Spot

by Shelt Garner

I’m old enough to remember how before MySpace, there was Prodigy. That was the online service, back in the day, that caused itself serious problems when it decided to charge users for its most popular feature — email. The service never fully recovered.

All the talk on the part of Elon “Space Karen” Musk about charging users a basic fee to use the X / Twitter service reminds me of Prodigy. The key issue for me is social media is very much old news. Everything is about AI now. In fact, rather than charging users for X, I would suggest Musk figure out a way to organically add AI into X to the point that it’s something that users of the service use everyday.

Social media has no buzzy these days and it’s dumb to try to re-invent the wheel, or, even worse, to charge for something that plenty of other companies are willing to give away for free. It’s all very curious.

But Musk has managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat before. So, I suppose it’s possible that he’ll manage to turn X into an “everything app” like he apparently wants to do so bad. I’m just leery. If this was 2012, then, yeah, maybe he might be able to pull it off.

But it’s 2023 and everyone’s mind space is dominated by AI. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Twitter (‘X’) Is Now Nothing More Than A Sewer of Disinformation & Bots

by Shelt Garner

I honestly don’t know why I continue to use Twitter or “X.” It is now nothing more than just a sewer of MAGA disinformation and bots that like my tweets in a weird attempt to catch my attention.

Or, if they’re not bots, they’re catfishing me. I say that because I seem to attract the putative accounts of way too many cute Asian girls who just got onto Twitter in the last month or so and have almost no followers. It’s enough to make me a little bit paranoid.

It makes me wonder if people with ill-intent read this blog and are for some reason trying to fuck with me. Maybe it’s a co-ordinated effort at a mind fuck from whomever that person in California who is obsessed with this site is. But, hopefully, that’s just me being paranoid.

I’m really — at the moment at least — all that important. That’s why anyone who gives me sudden, unexpected attention is suspect. I think that may be my age showing, if nothing else.

It’s too bad that that it’s now impossible for any real innovation in the social media space that doesn’t involve AI. Unless Space Karen unexpectedly pulls the plug on X, we’re stuck with Twitter as a very shitty global town square.

A Modest Social Media Proposal

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though we’re in a twilight of the gods moment when it comes to technology and, specifically, social media. We’re careening towards a brave new world of AI — even, maybe, a Petite Singularity — and, as such, all our notions about the nature and importance of social media will seem rather quaint soon enough.

And, yet, I continue to feel a bit of frustration over how bad social media is these days. I have a very specific vision of how one might bring the fun back to social media. But, alas, I’m flat broke, can’t code and have no desire to learn. So, in that respect, all my talk about this matter is just very prolonged bout of mental masturbation.

That’s why I’ve found a lot of joy writing a novel — writing a novel is something I can actually do using the resources I have at hand.

But back to my social media vision.

The key thing is my little social media daydream addresses the sweetspot of the using, say, Twitter. What I would do is actually have a paid editorial staff that would post to the service so as to make it really useful.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the service’s UX would be inspired by the old Usenet Newsgroups. Each user would have the ability to create an endless number of Groups that they would Post into. This idea solves a lot of problems when it comes to managing not only different elements of your life, but also grouping subjects together in a meaningful way.

Of course, by definition, having Groups causes an inherent design flaw that would have to be overcome. I think one solution to this problem is the use of the traditional newsfeed concept. As such, while you would subscribe to a Group, there would be a way to cut through all the Groups and see an excerpt of individual Posts within those groups.

That would be one way to prevent the problems associated with no just Usenet News, but Reddit as well.

Another element of this concept that I like is how within each Group you would have threaded full-page Posts. You could have essentially a whole multimedia Webpage that was threaded inside of a Group. This part of the service opens up all kinds of advertising possibilities.

Anyway, baring something I can’t predict this all just a daydream. It’s too bad. I think people would really enjoy it.

Turns Out, Everyone Online Just Wants 2012 Twitter Again

by Shelt Garner

It’s definitely interesting how people are getting so excited about Threads when it’s just a less-feature-rich Twitter clone that happens to be fused to Instagram. That’s it. There’s nothing all that great about it –but for one thing: it has a a lot of people (already) the vibe is really good.

Just my opinion, folks.

That’s it — that’s all Threads has going for it — people and vibes.

It’s not like there’s any particularly interesting feature set that might make people choose it over Twitter. I mean, I’ve come up with a really cool, really feature rich social media platform that no one cares about, so lulz.


I suspect everyone should really just enjoy the good vibes while they last. Put enough humans in the same space virtually and all hell is going to break loose eventually. If I had to make a bet, I would suspect that it’s probably going to be Trump coming to the service that ultimately turns it into just another Twitter. Or, it might be a lot more gradual.

It could be that all the smug liberal infotainment types spooging their pants over Threads will gradually realize they hate it just as it becomes a Twitter clone on a vibe basis, too. People are so dumb. They act like This Is The End of Social Media History and they have nothing to worry about ever again when it comes to how hateful social media is. All they have to do is just use Threads and they will have an eternal 2012 to enjoy.


A Newspaper Suggestion For Mike Bloomberg

by Shelt Garner

Here’s my Christmas gift for plutocrat Mike Bloomberg who apparently craves buying a major newspaper like The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal — I suggest he disrupt the newspaper business instead.

Why buy one newspaper for a few billion dollars when you could totally transform the way people get their news? What I would do is take the concept of Twitter –or, more specifically the my personal idea that involves cherrying picking the best elements of Usenet and fusing them with Twitter — and give the concept a paid editorial staff.

If I had a few billion dollars to play with, here’s what I would do — I would have a common brand domain name, but each major city across the country would have their own subdomain — nyc.domain.domain and so forth. If you used my idea of the Post being the central element of a new social media startup, that would give you all the space you needed to write a traditional length newspaper story. (I have written a lot about this idea on this blog, so if you’re really all that interested in the UX of my social media daydream just look under “startup” or maybe “Usenet.”)

Anyway, wanting to buy a major America newspaper — when none of them are for sale — seems like a fool’s errand. Now, obviously, if Bloomberg did as I suggested, the entire newspaper industry would fucking hate his guts because the plan would…work.

If you could transition the entire newspaper industry away from print with an app that allowed for long-form newspaper articles in the context of threaded discussions…well, you’ve built a better mouse trap.

Well, It’s Now Or Never For a’Twitter Killer’

by Shelt Garner

I don’t know what to make of Twitter at the moment. It could really go either way, depending on if Musk pulls it out of its current nosedive or if his mercurial nature proves to be too much.

As such, if you’re interested in building a “Twitter Killer” now is your moment. I would do it — I have the idea — but I can’t code and have no money. And the only way I would ever have the money to found a startup is if I won the $1 billion Powerball drawing coming up.

And that, I’m afraid, is rather doubtful — to say the least.

But the idea I’ve come up with, whereby everything one did in the service would be done in the context of Groups, is pretty cool. It’s a lot easier to understand the concept of a Group than it is a Circle like was found with G+. And, besides, what would be found in the Group is a lot cooler — full page multimedia Posts in threaded discussions.

The service would have all the other accoutrements of a modern day social media platform. I keep trying to find new angles on my social media start up and I find it a real struggle because the entire concept is so strong that I don’t really need to explore it anymore.

I know in my mind exactly how it would work, what it would look like and its strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t help that I’ve talked about and written about this idea in the past to an embarrassing degree.

Anyway, it will definitely be interesting to see which direction Twitter goes — if it explodes in popularity or if it implodes and turns into another failed social media platform that was once popular.

Only time will tell.

Is A Soft Singularity Going To Destroy The United States?

by Shelt Garner

The more I think about it, the more it seems that the source of many of our political problems in the United States is something akin to a Soft Singularity. What I mean by this is if you root around in what the fuck is going wrong with American politics, much of it has to do with how events move at an alarming rate relative to what old farts like me remember.

And when did this particular clusterfuck begin?

The second Obama administration, just as — you guessed it — smartphones began to reach a critical mass.

So, the case could be made that while we’ve not reached a Hard Singularity where we’re uploading our minds into the Cloud and fighting off potential destruction from Hard AI, we do face the destruction of American democracy by some of the symptoms of a Singularity.

The more you think about it, the more sense it makes. Not only do The Youths use technology different than The Olds, but that Always Online element leads them to have different expectations in their media, which we commonly call “being woke.”

Now, as an Old, I am sad that a lot of things we considered fun way back when have been “canceled” by GenZ. We can’t laugh at ourselves the way we used to. We can’t see hot chicks run around in their underwear at the Victoria’s Secret Runway Show. But, I have to admit, the reaction to these changes on the part of reactionary Republicans has got to be worse.

They want to burn everything to the ground, they want to welcome autocracy with open arms simply because they’re afraid, on an abstract basis, of being “canceled” because they say an off color joke in public that goes viral. (And what is “going viral” but something akin to a ping from a Hard Singularity happening in about 20 years.)

In fact, one could say that “going viral” being weaponized by both sides is very much something you might have read about in a scifi novel 20 years ago. Things are moving so fast because of modern technology that our culture and politics don’t know how to keep up.

This, in turn, causes everything to get fucked up and I have to worry about autocracy or civil war around 2024 – 2025.

The Vision Thing: Of Elon Musk, Twitter & Usenet

by Shelt Garner

My dream.

In honor of Elon Musk potentially buying Twitter, I’m going to talk about my own vision for Twitter. My vision of Twitter is a service that, at its core, revolves around the principles of Usenet. It would not be Usenet, which is long dead and shouldn’t come back.

My dream.

Nor would it be a Reddit clone. Reddit is pretty much as close as you can get to the old Usenet experience in the modern world, but even then it lacks some fundimental elements that don’t make it all that engaging if not a 23-year-old Incel. It’s kind of all of the insular bad parts of Usenet and none of the advanced features that make it so much fun.

My dream

My vision of Twitter would be a social media network that was, at its core, based on the concept of Groups. This is similar to Reddit, yes, but I’ve really thought this through. As part of the onboarding process, you would forced to create Groups that you could any name you liked to. You could create Groups on the fly, in fact, that people could discover.


Now, there are a lot of issues with my vision for this new, improved Twitter. First is how granular it would be. People are just too stupid and lazy to use the more complex elements of software, as can be seen by how small a portion of MS Word people use on a regular basis.

But you could come to some sort of compromise.

The point would be that once you setup Groups, you would have Posts like you did in the old Usenet days that allowed you to write not a 280 characters but as long as you liked. And, what’s more, these Posts would allow for inline editing, inline media AND be part of threaded discussions.


Of course, this would be such a jarring change of the pretty basic Twitter UX / UI that this is all a daydream. People would freak out if you changed Twitter’s user experience THAT much. And people would complain that Twitter was simply becoming Reddit, not knowing that the principles being used were actually closer to Usenet.

I suppose you could apply the distributed nature of Usenet to Twitter as well, but that’s beyond my knowledge set. It always took time for a Usenet post to circulate around the system, which was a huge flaw and caused spam to destroy it in the end.

Anyway, Twitter has a lot of unlocked potential if you mixed its current UX / UI with that of some of the more fun elements of Usenet from 25 years ago. But no one ever listens to me so, lulz.