Use Case: The New York Times & A Social Media Platform Based On Usenet Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m bored, so here’s another use case for my social media platform concept that is just my personal daydream. Imagine there’s some breaking news about the Trump Administration. The New York Times writes a story about it and if my concept were real, they could shoot the entire story into the platform.

Here’s where the cool stuff happens. The game changing stuff.

See, not only could they keep the formatting and advertising of the original article, but users would be able to inline edit the content (in other words quote the article directly and write within it) in such a way that people would be engaging with both the content and the advertising in manner that could be profitable for both The New York Times and the service that enabled the whole thing to begin with.

I would say, at least from a content producer’s standpoint, that’s the most compelling use case of this proposed service. It’s really cool. It’s a completely different way of using content. Too bad no one listens to me and this just me daydreaming in a public manner.

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.

How Fashion Blogging Might Handle This Social Media Service Based On Usenet

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am interested in how different really passionate subgroups might use this service. I want to be a fashion photographer at some point in the near future, so, for no other reason than it’s fun, let’s talk about how fashion bloggers might use this service.

The key thing to remember is this service could potentially bring new life to blogging in general because it is based on the concept of the threaded used of entire blog pages. (In essence.)

So, it is easy to imagine popular fashion bloggers getting verified accounts and then blogging to their hearts content in the context of a threaded discussions. They could post pictures of fashion, write about fashion, talk about fashion in a chat room and, I’d like to think, eventually have recorded video conferencing about fashion.

For a group that was really passionate about something like fashion bloggers, this service would be adapted quite quickly. At least, I think so. In fact, I would suggest as part of the soft, slow roll out of the service in the beginning that you would court popular fashion bloggers on Twitter and Instagram. You’d pitch it to them by saying it’d just like the traditional fashion blogging of yore, but with all kinds of new social goodies that they would have to see to believe.

At least, I think that would work. A lot of it would have to do with how easy to UX / UI was. That’s really the key to the whole thing, I think.

Regardless, as I keep saying, this is moot. This concept is too late by 10 years, I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. It is fun to write about though. And I can’t sleep.

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.

Some More Mulling Of This Service As A ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have written at length — and talked at length on Instagram — about this concept, so I’m only writing this because I’m bored and don’t want to go to bed just yet. But this concept is really, really compelling. And, yes, I know: I should just shut up and learn to code.

I am not going to do that. Fuck you.

Anyway, here are some interesting observations about this proposed service in the context of existing discussion options online.

I use Twitter a lot now after years of disinterest and I think that’s probably why I keep thinking about this concept. I keep looking at Twitter and thinking to myself, “There has go to be a better way. In fact, there is and it’s name is Usenet. And let’s throw in IRC for good measure.”

The issue for me is Twitter is like a raging, uncontrolled river of information but not a lot of knowledge. It seems to me that if you leaned on thought leaders more, gave them goodies because they were verified account holders, that that would draw them in big time and they would really, really love this service as I have dreamed it up.

I like how this service aims to do the same thing Twitter does but in a much more controlled fashion. You would have the same huge amount of information pouring, but it would be controlled. It would be controlled because you would have a stream of live chat in the context of a Group that you would interact with, then should the owner of the Group decide to begin a thread with a post, you would have the option of interacting with that post in a threaded manner as well as having the option of inline editing what the thought leader had written originally.

All of this is all thought out already because I’m simply using what I remember from Usenet and updating it about 20 years. There isn’t a lot new in what I’m proposing, but the way I want to implement it I think is pretty cool. There are just so many different aspects to this that I really like.

I like how you self-select by joining a Group. I like how you have the quick reaction time of a live chat as well as the option of interacting with a post by a thought leader. I’m sure there are quirks here and there on a social level that I’ve not thought through as well as maybe I should, but I think the general concept is exceptionally strong.

I really like it, if nothing else.

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.

Of Podcasting, Soundcloud & The Music Industry In The Context Of Usenet Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, the reason why I think you could use a service based on the concepts of Usenet and IRC to revolutionize not only the publishing business but music is because if you see these concepts the way I do, then there are any number of use cases you can think up.

So, this post is about the use case of music industry, podcasting and this service.

The interesting thing about this concept when it comes to podcasting and music is it’s a natural fit. If, as part of developing the site, you were to buy Soundcloud on the cheap and integrate it into the service you could do some pretty cool things. I say this because the key to making the service a success is finding different communities to use as source of growth marketing.

Establishing this platform as one where you could discuss podcasts and music would be pretty cool. The entire service would be designed to encourage debate and discussion and pretty much given the passions associated with music would be a perfect fit. People love to talk about music and podcasting and if you made it so you could actually do a podcast native to the service, all the better. Though, because I’m a former user of the now defunct video service known as Blab if I had anything to do with it, I would try to take things to the next step and use video as much as possible.

But imagine Pod Save America dropping on the service. There would be a Crooked Media post beneath the podcast and people could inline edit that content in a threaded discussion as well as have an archive live-text chat about it as well. This is pretty powerful stuff on a conceptual level, if nothing else. While I’m sure these concepts are floating about here and there, I can’t think of a site like the one I imagine that would do it all in one place seamlessly.

Or the latest hip-hop video drops and you get to not only watch the video, but get a full-page ad for merch and tickets to venues where the performer in the video is going to sing. That’s pretty cool, I think. And because people are interested in this content in the first place, they won’t mind that they’re interacting with an enormous ad while they talk about the music.

It seems pretty obvious that EDM would be the perfect subculture to promote this service to at first for no other reason than they have a huge amount of passion and they would love the ability to talk about venues and music and what not. Now, I know there are probably plenty of sites that already exist that allow them to do just that, but I like to think the service I’ve come up with would be so cool as to draw at least a sizable amount of those people to the service.

But, as I said, no one cares what I have to say. This is just daydreaming. I will grow tired of it soon enough, but for the time being it’s relaxing to look at this concept from different angles.

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.

Of Group Creation & Thought Leaders #Startup

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One of major issues of Usenet when it existed as a major online force was newsgroup creation. If you were to aspire to create a service that would be as large as, say, Twitter, you would have to deal with that issue as well. To me, it seems the solution would be to give Verified Account holders the exclusive ability to create new newsgroups. That would fix that issue quite well.

You would have the ability to have lots of newsgroups with a very specific subject that would be attached to a specific thought leader. There obviously would be some redundancy caused by this, but I really like this concept. It’s really strong and scales well. It also gives the opportunity to lots of value added features that I think people would really enjoy.

It’s just a really cool concept. It’s a really interesting way of fixing the creation of new newsgroups problem. Of course, there are any number of other UX issues to be addressed. You want to make the service feature rich, but you don’t want to make it so complex that it overwhelms people.