A Feature Rich #UX #UI For A ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner

Just daydreaming.

A Crude Mockup Of My Dream UX / UI For A ‘Twitter Killer’

by Shelton Bumgarner

No one listens to me. But I have given the topic of how to kill Twitter some thought. Maybe too much thought. And, as such, here’s at least one aspect of the service I believe should exist. This image is of a Group and how you would interact with it.

Comparing A Service Based On Usenet & IRC Against Reddit & Twitter

by Shelton Bumgarner

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

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

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.

The Curious Case Of Usenet, IRC & Why Twitter Needs To Die

by Shelton Bumgarner

I had a dream last night about how easy it would be to use any number of great Usenet clients as a the basis of a Web interface for a new discussion service that would be a “Twitter Killer.” Some of these clients, especially the ones you had to pay for, were really, really good. They were feature rich and fun to use and got the job done. Figure out a way to integrate IRC concepts into the interface and you have the makings of something really, really cool.

Of course, you’d have to update the experience some simply because people have Twitter, Usenet and Reddit as a frame of reference. But the general concepts you would use for such a service are extremely powerful and useful in today’s world.

One of the reasons why it took me years to use Twitter is I was so used to Usenet’s interface that I didn’t get what the big deal was about. Even now, I struggle to understand how anyone would use Twitter instead of Usenet and the answer is, of course: they don’t know Usenet even ever existed.

Usenet was not perfect and any service you designed would have to be designed from the ground up to address some modern needs. You would have to be able to integrate advertising seamlessly and you would have to address some basic issues that simply didn’t exist 20 years ago when Usenet and IRC were popular.

One issue I think would be interesting to address is newsgroup — or whatever you called them — creation. In my imagination, you would give verified account holders exclusive ability to create new newsgroups. You would give them other privileges, but not too many simply because you wouldn’t want to burden them with administration duties. Yet I think a lot of thought leaders would get off on the notion they had more power than just the average user. Now, of course, being a verified account holder would come at a price: you’d have to use your real name.

Another issue that would have to be addressed is cross posting. Cross-posting spam was a real issue with Usenet and I think simply wouldn’t give people the power to cross post at all. Or maybe just give it to verified account holders within those groups they had created.

Once you assume you’re going to use Usenet and IRC concepts as the basis of a Twitter Killer, there are so many intriguing, interesting tweaks you would be able to implement. Because Usenet was based on the notion of threaded entire-page posts, you could do some interesting things with content providers. They could shoot out their articles — in full — into the system and then people could quote the content directly through inline editing. The content providers make money because the ads associated with the content would still be associated with it. Done properly, this service I imagine could not only revolutionize content online, but, in a sense, bring back blogging from the dead.

Another interesting twist to the old Usenet concept is directly integrating IRC concepts into it as well. This is a little bit more fuzzy, but somehow you would make it so you would be able to enjoy now only the experience of old AOL Chat rooms but the old Usenet experience as well with the same service. So, it would be something like, you would have a public chat associated with each new newsgroup. Or something.

Additionally, something that would be really cool is what you might be able to do with profile pages with this service. If you had a way of cutting through the enormous amount of discussion such a service would generate by linking what you contributed to the service to your profile page, that might be really popular. Of course, you would have the usual Trending topics as well.

I also really like the idea of one-click recorded video-conferencing being associated with this as well. It would be cool if you could have a text chat with someone, then hit a button and start a recorded public video chat that would be associated with a post. Maybe only verified account holders could do this, but I think, in general this is a pretty strong concept.

Now, I don’t expect any of this to happen. I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. But I use Twitter so much and miss Usenet so much that I keep thinking about this concept over and over again. I keep thinking of different interesting use-cases. I have posted an enormous amount of Instagram videos on this subject and the only reason why I don’t do it again is I have started to use my Instagram account for pictures more than anything else.