Things That Annoy Me About Twitter & How I Would Fix Them With A New Service

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Here are things that annoy me about Twitter

1. Lack Of Organization
Twitter is just a open sewer of tweets flooding through the Internet. If you established a site based on Usenet concepts, the whole thing would be significantly easier to use. You’d have Groups (created and lightly administered by Verified Account holders) on specific subjects that you could participate in in a constructive manner.

2. Lack Of True Realtime Communication
Tweets are not real time. I want Slack for the masses. I want the old AOL Chatrooms brought back in such a manner that you can have a lot of people talking about a subject in a constructive manner.

3. Poor Onboarding
There is a really sharp learning curve for Twitter, at least in my opinion. If I had any say on the matter, I would have a lot hand-holding when it came to getting people involved in the service from the beginning.

Having said all that, it’s annoying no one is listens to me. I wish I had money.

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.

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.

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.

How To Found A ‘Twitter Killer’ Based On Usenet & IRC Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is pretty obvious that Twitter is a right-time-right-place kind of service. Modern life needs something like Twitter, so, for the time being, it’s a “success,” if, by “success” you mean a service pretty much everyone hates but only uses because there’s no option other than the insane Gab.

So, as a thought experiment, how might found a service with potentially explosive growth that would crush Twitter — and to a limited extent Reddit. Reddit, in my belief, is kinda sorta Usenet but not nearly as much fun as Usenet was and I think it’s UX it’s a complete mess. Though I’ve heard they’re going to revamp it, so maybe much of what I’m griping about will become moot sooner rather than later.

Having said all that, let’s begin.

What I would do is, study what made IRC and Usenet popular 20 years ago and then, from the ground up, work to not only fix the problems with Twitter but also make the service as accommodating to advertising as possible. Usenet died, in large part because no one could figure out how to use to advertise goods and services without it being spam.

Anyway, after I spent a little time doing that, I would establish a very small limited-invite service that would be used to get the kinks out. The service would, in large part, be a Web implementation of any number of great Usenet clients that used to exist. Of course, it would be on just one Website so you wouldn’t have the problem of distributed computing that Usenet had. (There was lag in distributing posts which no one would accept in today’s fast-paced world.)

After I had done that, I would a small group of thought leaders and celebrities on Twitter and give them invites. I would give them some time to get used to the service’s new UX and then explain to them that since they were verified account holders, they would have the exclusive ability to create new Groups that would within them have Discussions. After giving them some more time to figure out exactly what that meant, I would then give them a limited number of invites that they could give friends. I would think slowly grow out the service in such a way that I think it would have explosive growth. Huge growth in a very quick amount of time. Like, early Facebook growth.

Now, of course, once the service got the buzz I would expect it to get, the major online players would either want to co-op it or buy it. I would politely decline because, well, they suck. 🙂 I just can’t see Twitter getting its act together to co-op the features of this proposed service. Facebook has a completely different vision and the one service that would probably be the direct competitor — Reddit — has an established user-based that would not take kindly to too dramatic a shake up in the UX.

You wouldn’t even need that much money to begin with, I don’t think. You could probably accomplish a lot with crowdfunding. But no one likes me and I can’t code and don’t want to learn so this is just a daydream. It’s a very compelling daydream, but a daydream nonetheless.

Of Thought Leaders, Content Providers & A Service Based On Usenet Concepts

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Some basic problems exist online that a new discussion service devoted to updating the concepts of Usenet and IRC could fix. The first major problem is content providers continue to struggle to make money online. I believe if you designed a service based on the concepts of Usenet you might not be able to fix the problem but you could definitely ameliorate it.

I say this because what if you came to an profit sharing agreement with major online content providers so they could shoot out their content into this new service with all their ads intact. People would be able to inline edit the content, pick it apart in discussion and still be exposed to all the ads from the original content provider. This is pretty powerful I think. If, say, there was breaking news and the Washington Post or New York Times shot the story in its entirety into this discussion service, all the ads associated with the story would be seen as people were engaging actively with the content. This, in a sense, would take blogging to the next level.

I think that’s pretty cool.

Meanwhile, there is another problem: thought leaders are really growing tired of Twitter. It seems pretty obvious that if you gave them a better option they would bolt Twitter and bring their community and its collected fans along with them. If you told celebrities and other thought leaders that you gave them a service that gave them exclusive administrative goodies they probably would be extremely pleased. Giving verified account holders the exclusive ability create and manage newsgroups (or whatever they’re called in the service) would attract them in droves and be the basis of the new service’s initial success.

There are seemingly an endless different ways you could use this service when it comes to thought leaders. Imagine a major musician dropping a track into the service in such a way that people could discuss it between themselves with significantly more engagement than the typical tweet. Or, hell, for that matter, you could put an entire podcast into the service and people could debate the podcast with great gusto. I really like that one.

Anyway, as I keep saying, I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. It’s just fun to write about this. Though, if you want to see me talk about this at great length, look at my Instagram account.

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.