In this edition I rant about how people seem to always be telling me how much I suck. While that may be true, it would be nice to get a little encouragement every once in a while. No matter what I do, people want to bring me down and tell me any idea I come up with has already been done.
I have been doing a lot of little videos on Instagram which a few people seem to enjoy. This v-log is me mulling over some stuff that might interest you if you like social media and are frustrated with Twitter and Reddit. But as I keep saying, I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. So, this is just me having a little daydream, which I do frequently.
This one gets kind of personal and is really ramblely and meandering. But I to talk at great length about the issues associated with the social media startup I’ve been talking about on Instagram. No one really is helping me in any constructive manner, so I think I will turn my attention to working on a novel soon enough.
One of the issues people keep bringing up is how my concept seems just like Reddit. This v-log goes into great detail about why that is not the case. This concept I have come up with is really strong and if I could get any traction at all, I would throw my heart into it.
I don’t really think this service would be a “Twitter killer,” but it definitely would do the job Twitter is supposed to be doing right now, better. But this v-log explains why you could generate a huge amount of money using this service under the right conditions. Of course, I know Silicon Valley is interested in AR and VR now and social media is passe. Oh well. I believe in this concept, regardless.
Now, logically, I shouldn’t write this. Or at least not post it publicly. But look at things from my point of view. I have no money, I can’t code and don’t want to learn. I really, really don’t want to learn. But I do have a passion for UX / UI design in a casual, novice kind of way, and I feel as though I have just about thought this startup concept up to the fullest extent possible.
I have been doing a lot of little videos on Instagram about this concept and I have just about reached the point where I repeated myself. I feel myself on the cusp of getting bored and moving on to my next dumb daydream, so in a last gasp effort to get some traction for this idea, I am going to write out what I have floating in my head.
Now, it goes without saying that by doing this virtually anyone could scoop this up and do this startup without me. But, really, I have nothing to lose. I have no contacts in Silicon Valley, and, besides, they have moved on to AR and VR. A new social media platform is pretty meh to them, no matter how good it is.
And, really, if worse comes to worse, it will be widely known who thought this idea up and I should be able to leverage that into additional income for myself in some respect. Really, at this point my lot in life is so bleak that that idea is no something to be dismissed out of hand.
So, without further ado, here is the feature set of my unnamed startup that would fix the problems of Twitter and do a pretty good job of going after Reddit along the way.
The key thing to understand is I originally thought this concept up as a way to update the concepts of Usenet and use them to go against Facebook. It too me a while, but finally realized that pretty much I had just re-created G+ but with a fatal flaw: people would know what the name of the newsgroup you put them in was.
Because of that, I put the concept aside.
Then recently, I started to hear rumblings about problems at Twitter. I realized my concept worked quite well as a public discussion system and pretty randomly started to do videos on Instagram about the concept, thinking it out as I went.
Anyway, this concept is really powerful and I have thought it out to such an extent that this document is going to be pretty long. I know I should do an executive summary if this is supposed to be an official pitch, but I don’t really care right now. This more about having an excuse to see if anyone notices this and looks at it than anything else. I am really fascinated with my Webstats, so if I could get people from California or New York City to read this that would entertain me for days.
This service would have two major components that set it apart.
Let’s go through newsgroups first.
At the core of this service is the threaded Post. This is what the entire service is based upon. Instead of a tweet or a post/comment system, the entire service would revolve around threaded discussion that gave you an entire Webpage to make your case.
Now, the Post would be threaded in such a manner that it wasn’t awkward. At the top of the Post would be the Subject and below that would be Subheads (of up to three) that would indicate where the Post was in a thread. This service would work on the assumption that you had experience with Twitter, at least, so there would be a newsfeed like Twitter has. Or, put another way, there would be a main feed of what was really popular like what you might find on Reddit and then each newsgroup would have a similar setup.
This is the point where you sigh and say, “This is just like Reddit.”
You see, instead of having the Reddit setup for the groups posts go into, you would give Verified accounts the ability to make their own ad hoc newsgroups. All of this would be setup to aid in discovery and to a lot of former Twitter users, it would almost seem like this concept was a suped up version of Twitter lists. Kinda. Sorta. And, remember, instead of the Reddit system of post/comments in this service, you would have threaded discussions based on Webpage sized Posts.
So, for instance, Drake — or his people — could setup a newsgroup devoted to his latest single. Everyone would self-select and talk about the single in threaded discussions. Seamlessly integrated into this discussion would be entire Webpages for, say, Spotify where you could listen to the track and subscribe to the service along the way. Or whatever. You get the picture.
People would feel a personal connection to the newsgroup that they wouldn’t with a reddit and they would self-select which would also aid in discussion and marketing. This is one of the stronger aspects of this service, in my opinion.
You could easily scan the titles of Posts in the newsfeed to get a similar user experience. In my imagination, you would have the title of post and then an excerpt below it of, say, 500 characters with an imagine. If you wanted to see the entire Post, you would click on the title. And, remember, there would be some sort of setup to make it clear that this post was part of a thread through the use of subheaders.
One thing that might not become fully apparent is how much money this service could generate because you would have an entire Webpage setup for posts, so you could easily slip in a Webpage size interactive ad in the context of a thread that people could interact with. What’s more because they would be self-selecting, they would already be interested in whatever subject the ad was about. That is a pretty potentially powerful revenue generator, to say the least. People wouldn’t see it as spam because they would be interested in subject associated with the ad in the context of the newsgroup.
One thing to remember is you could share both Newsgroups, Threads and Posts. That would be pretty powerful. There are some interesting feature rich Trending possibilities that a good UX / UI designer could probably figure out.
So, now we come to the Chat feature.
Each newsgroup would have with it an associated Chat Room, similar to IRC, AOL Chatrooms or, for the enterprise user, Slack. There are many cool features this opens up. If you were writing a Post and you noticed one of your friends was also using that newsgroup, you could casually hit the Chat button and have a public chat about whatever it was you were writing about. That could be added to the Post you were writing.
Additionally, in my imagination, there would be a public Video Chat feature as well, so to talking heads on their lunch break could theoretically hit the Video Chat button and have a twenty minute pubic discussion on events of the day and make news. That public video chat would also be potentially added to the full page post the person was writing on that very subject.
Now, in my imagination, you would seed this service with disgruntled thought leaders and content providers from Twitter. Reddit isn’t really in this equation, though, if this service became popular, a lot of people who previously used Reddit would flock to it simply because it was easier and more fun to use. In seeding the service, I could see you using the Chat and Video Chat features as part of the onboarding process for early adapters.
There are any number of interesting uses for this service. I could see people using it to setup trips. So, for instance, you could join New York City related newsgroups and have a video chat with the owner of the coolest coffee shop in Brooklyn, should they be so inclined. You would be self-selecting and interested in that subject, so you could be shown any number of hyperlocal ads that might interest you. That is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to use cases.
Also in my fevered imagination, there would be a robust blocking system associated with this service, so people wouldn’t have to put up with the haters and trolls that have to put up with in Twitter currently.
Anyway, I’m sure there is more I will think up about this service and if you really are all that interested you will look at my Instagram account and keep abreast of my absolute latest thoughts on this matter. I am interested in maybe going the crowfunding route on this concept, but I am well aware that no one will take me seriously because I can’t code and people would laugh and say I just wanted to right to tell people what to do without having to do any hard work myself.
That is simply not true. If this concept got any traction, I would work myself to death to make it a success. I just wouldn’t be coding it.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.