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.

‘Shithole’ Nation: Sen. Cotton, Have You No Sense Of Shame?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am completely embarrassed by not only Sen. Cotton, but the entire Republican Party. The Republicans are willing to sell their souls to Donald J. Trump because, what? They don’t want to admit that Trump is a racist piece of shit?

This whole controversy over Trump’s “shithole country” statement is mindboggling. We are now debating words and intentions in a way not seen since we were talking about what the meaning of “is is.” There is one answer and one answer only that makes sense: Trump is a racist. He said what people in the room first said he said and people like Sen. Tom Cotton are full of shit.

In an earlier day, someone would beat the shit out of someone on the floor of the Senate at some point given what’s going on. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point, yet. I guess this makes me so angry because this is the first time when the Republicans have broken the rules of public debate. They’re not playing fair anymore. They are not just complicit, they’re willfully lying to protect Trump.

This is not cool.

This makes me very angry. It means we’ve lurched towards a dangerous new stage in Trumplandia. We can’t agree on the facts because one side is so insanely partisan that they’re out-and-out lying to protect a corrupt, racist president.

I don’t know where this ends. It doesn’t end well. We’re in sort of a slow-motion Civil Cold War. The only question is, will it ever turn hot and why? I think the next dangerous moment will be whenever Robert Mueller gives his report to Congress. Things could be so muddled by that point that the Republicans may simply ignore whatever his conclusion are and try to get us to move on to the next shiny object.

Only time will tell, I guess.

The Specifics Of Integrating IRC & Usenet Concepts In A New Social Media Service

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, I am well aware that social media now has zero buzz in Silicon Valley. All this writing I’m doing about this subject is pointless and no one is listening. But for me, personally, it’s relaxing and I enjoy exploring the topic for myself if no one else.

So, how exactly would you integrate two really addictive 20 year concepts — IRC and Usenet — in a seamless manner that would not only keep people coming back, but make a lot of money?

Well, I have given it a lot of thought and I think the best way to do it is like this: you’d have an IRC channel devoted to a Group and an IRC channel devoted to a thread. This is how you do it — on the quarter or so of your screen would be an IRC like channel devoted to the Group’s topic, while once the owner of the group — a verified account holder — started a thread, on about a quarter of the right of the screen would be a live stream of text devoted to that particular thread.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that a thread could only be started by a verified account holder. That fixes a lot of problems when it comes to newbies and morons posting stupid shit to a group. It would be a way to manage who posts what to a group in a somewhat subtle manner. There might be some bitching about this at first, but I think people would get used to it.

I really like the concept, if nothing else.

Of course, there is the issue of how these two IRC-like channels would be displayed across the service. That is an interesting problem that I doubt is too difficult to overcome. It’s stuff like that which is fun to mull over when you’re a boring job for a few hours.

‘The Ballad Of Old Man Cotton’ — #Lyrics To An Angry Pop-Rock-Folk Song

Sen. Tom Cotton has proven himself to be a liar and I can’t stand it. It’s outrageous that he is willing to sell his soul and honor to protect our piece of shit president. Hence, this song.

The Ballad Of Old Man Cotton
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton

I see you on TV
you lie so fast
you are not a man of honor
you should just shut up
we know what happened
when will you tell the truth, truth, truth

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton

you don’t know the truth
even if it was a stick to the head
you’re going to feel the power of fact
one day, one day, one day
the voting booth still exists

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton

‘Shithole Country’ — #Lyrics To A Woke Hip-Hop – R&B Song

These lyrics are supposed to be kind of a murky mixture of Prince’s Sign O’ The Times and a Public Enemy song. No one cares what I write, so I’m just doing this for fun, though I am kind of pissed off.

Shithole Country
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

the black man works with a broken back
trying the best he can
but just walking the streets is a danger
especially when the president is a racist fool
so let me tell you about a shithole country
at least for me
the one I have to deal with
as long as Trump’s name is in the land

shithole country
land of the free
shithole country
the one I live with in
as long as Trump is POTUS
shithole country

why can’t we all just get along
why does POTUS have to divide us along lines
the lines found on our face

what a disgrace
what a disgrace
what a disgrace

shithole country
land of the free
shithole country
the one I live with in
as long as Trump is POTUS
shithole country

[bridge]
we still have hope
maybe we’ll awake
and find that this was all a dream
but I’m afraid
the answer is nope, nope, nope

but we’re going to have to fight
fight for our freedom again
we’re going to have to unite
unite this shithole country

unite
unite
unite
unite

Use Case: Bringing Back Usenet Concepts & Saving The Publishing Business

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have talked at great length about this subject, but it’s fun to daydream about it. No one is paying me any attention and I’m kind of cooling my heels intellectually until I get a new camera and pursue that life. Having said that, I think a service based on the concepts of Usenet could do wonders for the publishing business.

I say this because instead of sending people a link to a site like you have to do with Twitter, with this proposed service, you could come to some agreement whereby a link detailing breaking news could be shot directly into the service in such a way that not only would people be able to inline edit it as part of the discussion, but the original ads associated with the article would be preserved.

This is important because people will be engaging with the content in a really proactive manner and the ads associated with the content would be viewed heavily. This might, just might, help with interaction of ads in such a way that it could boost the bottom line of online journalism.

This doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how you would know a lot more about users than otherwise because they would come to a newsgroup, or “Group” as I call them, for a very specific reason. They would not only come to a newsgroup for a specific topic, but the “patron” of the Group, a verified account holder, would be directly connected to the group because they created it.

This brings up all kinds of interesting advertising scenarios. Imagine a full page ad for this or that widget as a post in a group that was hotly debating the merits of the widget. Or something. Something like that. I would be interesting. I really like this concept. I think it has a huge potential upside monetarily.

But as I keep saying, no one is listening to me. No one cares about what I have to say, so this is more about me relaxing on a cold winter evening than anything else. Here are some more thoughts below.

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.