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

by Shelton Bumgarner

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

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

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

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.