I’ll Probably Change The Name Of It…

Per Mundum, that is.  But more on that, later. 

Two things occurred this week: one involving songwriting, and the other revolved around charity.

Having just finished a sub-8 minute track (Black Majesty Blues), a smile came across me.  It fell into place; it was true and did not fail.  Room for an array of vocal runs and texture; a 2 minute section featuring a 40-piece orchestra; a 2 minute segment featuring a 16-piece one… as well as some deft ambition.  Sort of (in my mind, at least), a Paranoid Android-cum-Bohemian Rhapsody affair.  Great!  Not one of my best, but a song that caused me to become more ambitious about music than I’d been for many months.  I wondered where the hell I go from here?  Earlier this week I had tried to look for potential band members.  After a Google search and a fruitless 2 hour search, I was left frustrated.  It can’t be THIS hard?!

A few days ago, I remember fondly spreading the news about the brilliant film Invisible Parents.  It was made to raise awareness of a big issue: the inequities of homosexual couples wanting to raise children.  It was a great little film for a wonderful cause, and something I only knew about because of my association with Kate Hollowood (who provided narration for the film).  I wondered how else I would have known about this film were it not for my connection with Kate.  It occurred to me that there were many other similarly worthy projects circulating the social highway.  Unless you know certain people… how do you find out about them?

This is where ‘The Idea’ comes in.  I may change the name to something less, Latin.  Or more monosyllabic.  Or something crazy.  It is a social website anyway… With a bit of support.  Below is the pitch/concept.

Name: Per Mundum (provisional).  Alternative name: 4thWorldSocial.

Concerns with social media: Social media sites seem to be limited at the moment.  Facebook is starting to stagnate, and Twitter is rather limited.  There are many drawbacks of each.  There is too much focus on the day-to-day thoughts of users.  Whilst integral to its success it is not exactly essential.  I spent a lot of time on Facebook and wait for something good to support or wait to read something I need to know.  The nature of the site revolves around either self-promotion or a mix of either banal declarations or worrying self-flagellation.  There are many adverts on my feed,  Adverts I didn’t ask for, need, or it seems, get rid of.  I have had the pleasure of being able to promote Invisible Parents and new artist Chess via Facebook.  These are things that I needed to know.  As much as I love some of my Facebook posse, I do wonder what the point is.  I hate myself for posting some things.  Things that make me sound too sad, too worried, too self-obsessed.  But what else would I say?  What else would I do?  What else would anyone else write?  As pointless as it seems, there does seem to be no wider sphere- no real network opportunity or feature to keep you interested.  In addition it is a bit unreliable, slow, limited, with poor layout and many faults.  Twitter suffers the same faults.  While there are greater opportunities for networking and expansion, it seems no more essential.  For every one thing worth ‘re-tweeting’ there is 5 things posted that have no place in my brain. 

As a songwriter, wannabe comedy writer and an unemployed, single guy looking to move to London; the point of social media should be to promote ambitions and rectify my empty qualities.  I want rag on them too much because I of course use them and feel that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my ‘friends’ any other way.  I understand that the sites have helped a great many people.  As a minimum they facilitate one’s need to vent; to share; and to simply ‘be heard’.  I just wonder how hard it would be to do more.

The site: The site is designed to retain the element of existing sites like Facebook and Twitter, but put greater emphasis or networking and promotion of good deeds, charity and good practice.  The way it would work would be that there is a front page/interface.  From there, would be a number of icons to navigate to.  Only one of them is marked ‘Social’.  Users would be able to use the function in the same way as Twitter or Facebook but with a different, more updated design.  As well as this there will be 7 other option icons to choose from, including ‘Music’, ‘Networking’, ‘News’, ‘Charity’ and ‘Technology’.  There will also be 43 other categories one can replace these icons with, ranging in nature from ‘Film and TV’ to ‘Travel’.  These options will all be available on the interface but will be smaller icons and not larger like the other 7.   The idea is that anyone can connect with anyone in the world, without having to chance a friend request or search via Google.  If you want to see photos or information about any city in the world, you can.  If you want to find a band/music artist from any specific city in the world, you can.  If you want to donate money to a specific charity, you can.  It provides greater emphasis or sharing and goodwill, as well as making connections, and less on pure self promotion.  In fact the site rewards users who do good or promote someone else.  I often wonder when something like Invisible Parents is posted.  Why wouldn’t every single person who saw it share it or like it?  It seems insane!

Down to some specifics:

Interface:

 After navigating to the web address the front screen would show a globe, surrounded by 8 planets (they would be around the edges of the globe.  In the background would be a black sky with 47 stars.  The logo for the website is down the bottom of the page and is designed to be informative, easy to navigate and easy to use.  The user can design each planet and each of the 7 would represent the main topics or points of interest.  Say for instance you wanted options involving music, acting, film, travel, social, charity and health; you could choose them as your 7 ‘planets’.  The topic for each would appear in the middle of the planet, and you can customise the look, colour and design of each.  Around the planets would be 47 stars.  These ‘stars’ are the remaining topics/icons.  These would range from technology, news and the most popular or asked for topics (as will be suggested by the public).  If for instance you wanted to change the topic of one of the planets, you would right-click on a star, and be able to swap their positions, and customise the interface.

Membership/Cost:

This is free.  The revenue would come from advertisers who want to advertise on the site.  The adverts would not show on the main profile, but at a separate page that can be viewed on everyone’s interface.  So for instance if you wanted to view them there is a separate icon for advertisements.

Friends/Contacts:

You can access or view anyone’s personal page around the world, and search for people by city/town or enter a search term.  If for instance you wanted to add someone as a music contact, there is an option to search by their favourite music, taste and location so you can connect with contacts more easily.  No one will be able to view personal or private information without being accepted.  A user can either accept everyone like you can on Twitter or set certain levels, so one would have to be accepted.  It is personal choice.

Personal Profile:  

Exact design and details under wraps, but works in similar way to Facebook where status can be posted and shared amongst friends.  The personal profile can be customised.  For instance it will allow you to design a sketch or portrait of your own design.  You can also put a video as your profile, or ‘make’ a photograph (so it would be like an album cover).  You can update it as much as possible and make enumerate changes so it has the appearance of a personal website.  Once you are ‘accepted’ you will be able to see past the front page and read statuses and personal information.

Access:

The joy is that you can locate certain people more easily.  One the interface is a globe.  One can click on a continent, and then a country; and then a city.  For instance if you were looking for a relative or ‘band member’ in New York you would go- North America-New York-choose from there.  That would bring up a list of everyone in that city, using that site.  If you were looking for a musician, it would show just musicians; actors, just actors etc.  You can narrow your search so if you want to find a homeless charity in Leeds, you would access the city via the globe, choose ‘Charities’ and select from a list of charity categories and be able to access them, like you would in Google, for instance.

Incentives/Differences:

 The differences are numerous.  The idea is to expand the subscription appeal so that it can access via TV.  In the same way as you can view certain sites and devices via TV it would be available this way so people such as the elderly; who may not be able to afford broadband or buy a laptop, can use it.  Similarly it can also be accessed in poorer countries, so that people can connect with each other more easily.  Like Google+ it tries to make searching easier but choosing a search engine as your ‘custom search’.  So if you are posting a status about looking for a job, in say, London, the search engine will suggest links and websites to help out.  Similarly if someone was depressed and was sending a distressing status, the search engine and site ties the status and search together, and for instance would link it to someone who worked for The Samaritans. From there that person could directly contact the other.  The idea is to incorporate video chat as well so you can send e-mail, instant message or video chat.  It makes communication easier.  The search engine also suggests sites.  If you were looking for a casting director in Bradford and were searching via the ‘Acting’ icon, the search engine would suggest sites in addition to  connecting you to people.  There will be stricter privacy and security laws.  Anyone joining will have to scan or prove their I.D., either with a driver’s license photo, or some proof of I.D.  This is to clamp down on child sex offenders posing as a teenager for instance.  If as well, someone is thinking of posting something racist or offensive, then the site picks up on key words and terms and sends a warning.  If the warning is not adhered to, that user will then be banned.  Also, if someone wants to send an update, it will not send unless the grammar, spelling and diction are correct.  Before each is sent, it will give a spellcheck and grammar check and will not send unless it is correct.  This is to correct poor English and right bad habits that are the core of social media.  It also gives direct access to police, so if an offensive terminology or status was posted or anything incendiary was posted, it would be forwarded to the local police, and would make it easier for people to be stopped and brought to justice.

   The incentives are a new idea.  The main purpose of the site is to promote philosophy and good deeds.  For instance, there is emphasis or promoting neighbourhood causes, helping to donate and promote charities, and helping people who may need it.  One was to do this is introducing a points system.  In for instance, a charity film was shared or ‘liked’, a certain amount of points is designated to that person.  There are more points for bigger deeds.  So if you share a video ir may earn you 100 points.  If you post one or create one it earns you 1,000, say. There is a rewards incentives so if you earn a certain amount of points, you will earn a reward.  If for instance you earn 1,000 points you make £1.  If you earn 100,000 you will earn £20.  If you earn 10,000,000, a top prize is awarded.  This will be a prize of your choice and will be a wish fulfilment.  So if you want to meet a certain celebrity or so a certain experience, this is arranged for that person.  This is just a guideline to points and rewards but the basic idea is to promote good habits.  The money given will be raised by advertising and sponsorship.  There is also a ‘suggestions box’ where users can suggest changes and improvements, as well as new categories and pages they’d like to see.  If any issues need correcting it makes it quicker and easier to do.

Music:

This is a key focus.  The idea is to make it easier for band members to connect, existing artists to connect to an audience, and for quicker and simpler interactions and networking.  There are many functions one can enjoy.  If you are looking for a band, say, you can find one easier.  When doing a profile, options are available to detail your music tastes and intentions, so if you are looking to form a band you say what type of person you want, age, location, as well as your musical tastes.  The other person can then search more accurately.  So if I wanted to find a guitarists in London who was influenced by Radiohead, Queens of The Stone Age and Bob Dylan, matches are shown.  If there are no exact matches then the ‘best available’ is displayed, so that you can still contact someone who is ‘near perfect’.  I will explain the music profile bit at the bottom.  Also if you are a new rap artist in the U.S. and wanted to connect to people, that is easier.  MySpace and Facebook (and Twitter) do a truncated version of this.  If you want to promote yourself you can find people who like rap for instance.  So if on your music section you are influenced by rap and that forms the majority of your tastes, the site will then match you and ask if you want to connect to this artist.  From there you can see their page and contact them directly.  If you are looking for venues to play in as well you can search listings and venues.  If you are a promoter looking to get gigs for an indie band, you can set search terms so you can search for all venues that currently promote indie bands; you can then connect with that venue directly.  This is done via a search function, as well as the custom search engine too.  There is a function too where you can post blogs and updates.  These include album reviews, gig reviews or general blogs.  This allows new bands to be promoted and reviewed and if you were a band looking for a venue or audience, it will match up with blogs and reviews, searching for key words.  The music page is open to anyone: bands, promoters, venues or music-lovers and can be customised accordingly.  On the front page you can have a ‘song of the day’ which welcomes people in.  You can design your page as well however you like and gives many design options.  On an individual user’s site there are different options.  You can create playlists, like in Spotify and create your own mix albums, design an album cover and inset.  Videos and songs can be accessed from Spotify, MySpace, YouTube or Facebook and Twitter.  You also have a jukebox where you can store up to 1,000 songs, like an iPod, and sort them by gene, year or by artist.  There are links to YouTube, MySpace etc as well as music magazines and websites, based on your musical tastes.  Users can post reviews and links to any artist or existing band accordingly.  You can join a music fantasy league which works in the same way as Fantasy Football, as well as access any radio station from any country.  The benefits come big for musicians.  If you are a new songwriter there are more options.  Links will be suggested to sites that may benefit you- vocal coaches, music sites.  Also you can video message and contact bands and musicians as well as access apps or software online such as online piano, music software and voice recorders etc.  If you are a band you can post lyrics and album details, gig details and make it easier to connect to fans and fellow musicians alike.  It works like MySpace, but means that rather than having to find a fan base via gigs and social network and direct them to MySpace, you can link with them directly on the one site.

Travel:

 This is aimed at everyone but gives great consideration to elderly or less privileged users.  The aim is so you can see photos, videos and information for anywhere within the world.  It allows people to view live feed, webcam and data stream from any city in the world.  people can also post in photos of holidays and locations that can be viewed as well as video.  There will be links to travel websites and hotels etc, as well as useful links.  If for instance you wanted to go to Italy, you would select it via a search.  It would then give you the option to choose a certain city or the country as a whole.  It will then match you to videos, photos and footage of that locations so you can watch it for fun or as a tool when selecting a holiday location.  There will be a function so a travel guide is provided for each country and city.  It is like a guidebook or reference guide where you can find out about hotels, hotspots etc, and is an interactive guide, with photos, advice, reviews and video clips.  If you are disabled, elderly, or live is a developing country it gives you a chance to see more of the world and connect with other users and live stream as well and see a world you might not have been able to see.

Charity:

 When I was promoting Invisible Parents, I thought how lucky I was to have come across it and whether I would have known about it, were I not friends with certain people.  There is an option where one can keep up to date with all charities and movements.  So if you wanted to find a charity for the elderly, it gives you the option to search for all of them and also directs you to any video promotions, charity events and such that are happening, so you can get involved.  If you wanted to donate to an African children’s charity it updates you of those charities and the aim is to provide direct feed and photos of the country and people affected and shows how your money is being used and how you can make a difference.

Connections:

 This is multi functional.  This covers job searching, dating, missed connections and also finding lost people or trying to find family.  There is no separate dating website but if you are looking for a particular type of person it directs you to the best websites available.  Similarly, if you are looking for jobs, it provides a list of general sites as well as more specific sites, based upon your search words.  It utilises the search engine, so if you want a labourers job in Dulwich, it provides access to general sites- Jobsite, Reed, Gumtree etc, but also specific sites.  People can also place job adverts on the site and connect to potential employees/employers.   There is a section for missed connections.  There is a similar site in the U.S. where, if you have seen someone you fancied in a particular place; you post the details on this site, and if they see it, they can connect with you directly.  It is designed so if you do miss asking someone out or talking, you post details on this section and can be ‘found’ by them.

Technology/Apps.:

This section is trying to do similar to apps. where you can access an array of programmes for free.  At the moment there is an App Store where there are free apps. but you have to pay for most.  The idea is that you can access apps. from the App Store on this site and add them to your profile but also design your own on site.  It works the same as Apple but instead of being paid each time someone downloads your app. you get points instead and would then earn rewards or money via the site itself.  It means people can access all of them for free and will not need to buy particular phones or tablets.  In the same spirit the idea is to integrate the technology of the likes of Nexus, Blackberry, Iphone etc, but for free and for EVERYONE.  It should be something everyone can access not just those that can afford it.  The site will aim to have its own store where you can access practically anything depending on your needs and share it with friends.  If for instance you design a programme or promote it you earn a certain amount of points as well.

TV/Film:

 A less targeted approach but more for everyone.  It is aimed to have one place to see anything.  You will be able to watch any TV station from around the world, see old shows as well as current ones (like 4OD but on a worldwide scale) as well as films.  It also shows trailers of new TV and shows as well as be able to watch live TV.  So if you wanted to see an old episode of Seinfeld or Blackadder you can search for it, as well as any old film.  It also connects you to YouTube and film and TV websites that currently provide a similar service.

Health: 

This is designed to try to cut down on needless illness or death.  It is a comprehensive service so you can find information on any illness as well as post symptoms to try to help diagnosis.  There are many complaints that it takes too long to see doctors, there is poor diagnosis, and not enough information.  The main function is to pull existing websites together like Google+ as well as encourage interaction between users as well as doctors and people.  So for instance if you were experiencing a particular symptom or set of symptoms, you would type them in and be directed to web sites or answers you needed.  Also there would be boards and discussions between users who experience the same and will try to I would like it so that apps. or programmes can be designed to help diagnose and inform people.  Not to replace doctors but to make it easier to help yourself so for instance, taking blood pressure or heart rate.  This way it prevents needless doctors appointments and can help people too.

Overall/My Thinking:

I hate poor English.  I’m probably guilty of many crimes against English in this blog.  I don’t want to keep doing this.  I am bored at looking at status updates.  I am feds up with having to look hard for genuinely good causes.  I am sick of the limitations and homogenic elements of social media.  I am looking for a band and hate how hard it is to connect to people in a similar position.  I am unemployed and it takes hours to search through half a dozen sites all saying the same thing.  I would like to be able to do more and see more of what I want to see.  I like Facebook more that Twitter but it doesn’t thrill me or keep me hooked.  I spend too much time on there.  Not sure why but feel if I wasn’t there I wouldn’t hear from most of the people I am friends with on there.  I post stuff just to inform people I am still alive.  Facebook has too many glitches and is a bit old now; Twitter is too narrow and although it has great benefits it is too niche and will suffer the same fate.  Google+ is too specialised too.  It seems likely that it is not just me who wants more.

Social media needs to exist.  It is a way for people to connect and contact each other.  No matter what I say most people will not deviate from the current runners and want to stick with what they know.  That’s fine.  I will as well.  What I am suggesting is that there should be more to do and see; more to help people, and make a difference.  That, to me, is the idea of social media.  People shouldn’t ignore the outside world- it is more glorious than computers, social media and any phone or stupid Iphone technology people salivate over.  The plan is to encourage that through greater access to more people.  There is no way to encourage people to use the site and no way to stop people becoming obsessed.  The idea is to provide a third way; a site that balances self-promotion as well as kindness, networking and everything in-between in one place.  It seems long overdue and wholly possible.  I am sure that as I type there is someone putting something like this into place.  I can but try.

I just feel that if you are sitting at a laptop staring at the screen, there should be more to see and do than seeing who hates the cold, or who hates the new James Bond film.  Status updates are at once completely necessary and completely pretentious and unnecessary.  I don;t want to get rid of it, just sublimate the current status quo and tie it to the rest of the world.  Make everyone happy as it were.

So that is it.  In its infancy, mind you.  It is ambitious, but not impossible.  Taking out of the equation issues of cost and moving it forward, at the moment, I just need to see if the idea would have subscription potential.  What I have documented here is a basic version.  There are many features and characteristics, but want to give you a flavour of what could be on there.

Just wanted to know:

Would people support it?

What do you guys want from a social media site (that does not exist already)?

What do you think?

Let me know… please.  It’s not for me to make money; it is to make people’s (social) lives better.  If there is enough support then I will take it further and try to get the ball rolling.  The irony is that I doubt many will read this fully or share it… but fuck it, that’s my point.  If I have to do it alone, I will.  I just want to see if people want something new, or are happy with what is already out there.  Let me know.

Thanks.

Sam.

 

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