I got no beef with Reddit. Live long and prosper, you Usenet knock off. But I do think it’s telling that if both Twitter and Reddit implode that my personal vision for a service that uses updated Usenet UX / UI concepts becomes something more viable.
If I was smart enough — which I’m not — I would somehow figure out a way to use AI to design my dream platform that is based on Groups and allows for pull page posts and robust threading.
And…yet…that moment has passed. It’s just not viable anymore. We’re now in the age of XR, crypto and AI. Lulz. No one gives a shit about something as quaint and prosaic as a social media platform…based on a 30 year old concept no one cares about anymore.
Anyway. I do wish there was something a bit more like Usenet out there to use. I think by the time Reddit came around I was just too old to be willing to wade into its many subcultures. And I was so weened on Usenet back in the day that neither Twitter nor Reddit really appealed to me.
I’m old and I hate it.
Godspeed, Reddit. I hope you figure out all your API bullshit.
They key thing to remember is there is a window of opportunity for a startup to come up with a replacement for Twitter that embraces and extends its existing UX. I propose that a startup cherrypicks the best UX elements of Usenet so you give users what they don’t even realize what they want.
One issue is, instead of little banner ads, you could have very specific full-page ads woven into a thread on a subject where users could buy goods and services without going to a new Website. That’s where you would make your money and that’s what would make the whole thing worthwhile.
A use case would be that a user creates a very-specific Group devoted to, say their favorite TV show — maybe The Last of Us.
It would be one of many other similar Groups devoted to the show. But through data mining, you would know what people in that Group were interested in and you would place a full page ad in such a way that it would be unavoidable as people were going through the thread.
Remember, because the basic building block of this proposed service would be full page Posts with in-lining editing, that really expands what you could do with ads.
I’ve finally concluded that I’m totally and completely wasting my time to think about this idea anymore, and, yet I have gotten at least one ping in my Webstats related to this, so, lulz, let’s waste some MORE time.
Also, it definitely seems as though there is a very, very narrow window of opportunity for someone to actually implement this idea. I’m a dreamer and a writer so, as such, it’s better if I just stick to working on my novel(s) rather than spending years learning how to code something that will ultimately be replaced by a combination of the metaverse and chatbots.
Ok, the key selling point of this concept is is brings back some really cool UX concepts that we somehow lost when Usenet finally succumbed to porn and spam and porn spam. The cool thing about Usenet was you had a full page Posts that were robustly threaded in the context of Groups. What’s more, you had in-line editing.
Now, obviously, some of this sums up modern-day Reddit and that would be the thing most people would initially compare the service to because no one remembers Usenet except for weirdos like me. And, in real terms Reddit is the closest approximation to Usenet that exists.
But the implementation is really ham-handed, at least in my view.
Imagine if everyone when they went through on-boarding was forced to created both public and private groups devoted to not just grouping their friends, but also creating the equivalent of really robust Facebook Groups combined with Twitter Lists.
And there would be a lot of innate redundancy in the system, to the point that Groups would be seen as disposable. This would, in turn, reduce the likelihood of not only a Group growing too large, but also the sort of in-ward looking thinking that alienates people who just want to discuss a topic without having to lurk for weeks while they read the Group’s FAQ.
That’s a key element of Twitter — there is almost no learning curve. One can just jump in and start tweeting. The downside to this is, of course, this makes it far easier for trolls and bots to flood the service.
Anyway, if you establish a service where you have a full page Post with in-line editing and robust threading, I think it would be instantly popular. After, of course, people stopped trying to figure out why you had just re-created Reddit (which you hadn’t.)
There are so many cool things you could do with the UX of this service. You could push entire pre-formated Webpages into the service that Users could pick apart via in-ling editing. You could have some sort of profit sharing agreement with content providers whereby they push into the service complete Webpages with their ads already in the pages.
Or something. Something like that.
The point is — none of this is going to happen. While there IS a very narrow window of opportunity because of the current Elon Musk-generated instability at Twitter…no one listens to me.
In the end, I think all my dreams of someone cherry picking the best bits of the Usenet UX to design a “Twitter Killer” said more about my dissipated youth than anything else. No one was ever going to listen to me and the only way it was ever going to become reality was if I learned to code and showed people my vision in a practical manner.
As it is, lulz.
So, in a sense, it was all a huge waste of time. And, yet, I also think the same foolish and obsessive element of my personality that led me to rant about my dream of bringing back Usenet in some form has helped me when it comes to working on a novel.
There is that, I guess.
Anyway, I only even mention it again because someone from California did a Google search that led them to some of my writings about the Usenet UX. I have no idea who they were or their motives, but it reminded me of what we lost in social media UX over the last 30 years.
The funny thing about it all is, of course, that we’re zooming towards a whole different era in technology based around the metaverse and AI (AGI?) So, yeah. I need to stop dwelling on Usenet and throw myself into working on my first novel before even novel writing has been co-oped by the ravious chatbot revolution.
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.
So, let’s go through how an advertiser might use this Twitter killer that I’ve come up with. To me, the main appeal of this hypothetical service is you have a lot more freedom in what type of ads you push into the platform because they can pretty much be the same size as a Webpage. AND you have the option of using traditional banner ad sizes within Posts in the system as well.
Groups Anyone would be able to create a Group about anything you liked. It would be attached to your account ID, which would allow for redundancy, which would allow for scalability. This is a very flexible nature of the service — at least in this specific aspect. You would have to have a robust discovery feature for that to work, of course. Threads These would be presented much like a traditional blog inside of a Group. This would allow for huge page-sized advertisement. There would also be a subthread feature which would be pretty cool. Posts What would be interesting about this would be you would have inline, collaborative editing like you might find with a Google Doc. You would have, say, six people able to inline edit a Post before a new Post in the Thread is spawned because you would run out of colors.
So, here’s how an advertiser might use my Twitter Killer.
Remember, using their account, they can create as many different Groups as they like about whatever aspect of the service or widget that they’re selling. AND, what’s more, they can control who can Post into the Groups they’ve created.
So, if you were a major advertiser, you could have a variety of Groups devoted to discussion about any number of not just a widget, but an element of a widget that you felt people might really want to talk about. And also remember there would be an Excerpt feature that would work with a Feed feature like you might see with Facebook or Twitter, which would cut through the service to allow people to know when a new Thread or Post was created in Groups they might be monitoring that were run by people they might be monitoring.
This is a far more powerful brand tool than either Reddit or Usenet — or even Facebook, for that matter.
In my imagination, the Discovery feature of my proposed Twitter Killer would allow you to find any Public Group that might have been created by another User. I vacillate between letting everyone create Public Groups and letting only Verified Users create Groups.
But I think letting everyone create a Public Group is probably the way to go because that way everyone feels equal, even though in reality they aren’t — especially when it comes to who can post in a Public Group.
Back to Discovery, though.
When you searched for a Keyword or Phrase, you would find a multitude of Groups devoted to the subject in question, with varying degrees of popularity. I suppose you might have Sponsored Groups or Leader Board Groups that are featured in some way.
There is a lot you could do with the Group concept because it’s so flexible and powerful. There might be some clutter if everyone is creating a Group in an ad hoc manner with little or no regard for how to properly name one so people understood what the heck they were about.
But that would also be some of the appeal of this element of the service. And, remember, each Group would be associated with the account of a User, so that would really help narrow down how interested someone might be in the Public Group.
There are a lot of ways the Public Group concept could go wrong, of course, but I’m really enjoying thinking up different use cases and trying to bounce up and down on this platform concept to see where I can find and fix weaknesses.
As I keep saying, unless I win the $1 billion Powerball, what I’m writing about here just isn’t going to happen. Not only does no one listen to me, but I can’t code and definitely don’t have any money. But this is an entertaining thought experiment, a way of letting off some steam in between novel copy writing sessions.
It has occured to me there is a crucial feature of the old Usenet that we just don’t have available anymore — inline editing. The last time I checked, with Reddit — which is the closest we have to Usenet these days — you can’t go into the main post and inline edit its text. You have to quote the copy in the comments below the main post.
Back in the day with Usenet, you had a full page to work with and within that full page you could have some pretty interesting discussions as various people inline edited the Post’s text. Think of it as a very primitive, public form of Google Doc’s collaboration feature.
So, this was an interesting way to add value to the conversation about something of interest, over and above the robust threading that Usenet had way back when. This is a feature that modern users simply do not have access to and if you gave it to them as part of a Twitter Killer based on updated, more modern Usenet UX concepts, they probably would love it.
But remember, Jack Dorsey is developing an open protocol for Twitter-like services that might upend everything. And, like I said, absolutely no one listens to me. So, lulz.
I just don’t have the resources to do this myself. But here’s want I want.
— An intuitive, feature rich chart (a circle?) that you can study that gives the audience some sense of where each of the 100 Senators stand on impeachment. — It would be set up so the one person who really has the most power in all of this — the 67th Senator — would be really focused on. Whomever falls as the 67 Senator relative to both party affiliation and alphabet would be the one person we would learn the most about. — It would be dynamic, so it would change as we rush towards the actual trial and vote.
It’s just too complicated for me to do alone because the vote is done in alphabetical order, so Republicans and Democrats are scattered across the actual vote as it proceeds.