I recently got to thinking that many of the deficiencies in blogs, or at least LJ’s implementation of them, could be solved using Usenet. News readers understand only showing unread things, and people could just reply to posts to comment on them, and then I’d see the replies. I’d kind of like each person to have their own personal newsgroup. Plus, people would be able to start discussions on other people’s groups, which might make some sense in some circumstances. I’m not sure how well it’d fit into the current implementation of Usenet, so it might need to be its own hierarchy on a private server or something. And maybe there could be an RSS/News gateway to read other blogs and for others to read it who aren’t Usenet-savvy. But it somehow Usenet feels like the right tool for the job. Or at least, better than this mismatch of incompatible blogging systems that don’t support the user’s experience. I could just subscribe to what I want, and then read it with the rest of my news.
It’s kind of unfortunate that Usenet is this lost part of the Internet, unknown to many people. Most people only interact with it via web-based gateways (the most famous of which is Google Groups, but others exist). But news readers are really the right tool for the job. I want all of my incoming messages to come in that way. (And since I use Gnus for both mail and news, that’s exactly what I get.)