by Shelton Bumgarner
Here is a brief run-down of my vision of how Twitter (or a startup) could use the concepts of Usenet and IRC to establish a social media platform that does the same thing Twitter does, only more effectively. Let me start off by saying I know what I am going to describe sounds a lot like Reddit, but I don’t like the UX / UI of Reddit and this concept would work on the assumption that the interface would be a lot better than Reddit’s current one.
Besides having a horrible problem with trolls, a major problem with Twitter is it is nearly impossible to have an effective conversation using it. If you were to use the concepts of Usenet and IRC, that problem would be fixed quite easily. Major difference between what I am proposing and, say, Reddit, is each individual post would be its own webpage in the context of threaded discussion. So, in a sense, I am proposing turning Twitter (or a startup) into a suped up version of the old discussion board systems that people who are ancient like me remember. But I am thinking more of updating Usenet than I am discussion boards.
I know that by having a threaded discussion like what was found on Usenet that you have an extra click, but I think that extra click is worthwhile. And if you cut through the threads by having a feed like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, then I think that problem is solved. I guess I just like the notion that you would have entire Webpage to make your case. And if you work on that assumption, you need some way of managing the discussion once you hit “post.”
So, in a sense, to the modern social media user, the concept I’m thinking of is kind of a mixture of Reddit, Facebook and Medium.com. They wouldn’t know that I’m actually referencing something significantly older. I originally thought this concept would be for a service that would compete against Facebook, but the more I thought about it, the more I realize what I was doing was re-inventing G+, only with a fatal flaw — the people you put into groups would know the name of the group.
But if you work on the assumption that groups are public, the fact that people would know the name of the group becomes moot. So, in my vision of things, you would have a group started by a New York Times reporter who you would follow. You would see, say, the first 200 words of a post they had written in your feed, then you would click on the title and be able to inline edit what they had written. What’s more, you would also be able to interact with other people in the group using IRC concepts. All of this would be public, unlike Facebook which is in something of a gated community. That’s the aspect of all of this I didn’t quite grasp.
The public nature of this would allow this service to not only do exactly what Twitter does, but at least on desktop, allow for significantly more feature rich advertisements. and you would be able to interact with people in a much more direct manner. All of this would probably have the same problems as Twitter when it comes to trolls, but that is an issue that any service is bound to have.
This is just me idly musing. I can’t code, don’t want to learn and have no money. So, make of this what you will. It is at least somewhat interesting to think about.