There are all kinds of things going on today, as you surely imagine. The day has finally come for the 2020 Election to descend on us, and so The Hayride will be busy with all of the developments.
But we’re going to do something different today, because while our app The Speakeasy is still under construction and doesn’t quite have its full complement of features yet, the social stream is certainly up and running. And to offer quick updates on fast-developing items like we’re going to see all day and night today, The Speakeasy is a perfect vehicle.
And so that’s where we’re going to live.
Some of you have signed up for The Speakeasy, which doesn’t cost anything yet. In time, in just a few days, in fact, it will. Consider today a free sneak preview. Head on over, set yourself up with an account, and join the fun.
And in case you have no idea what The Speakeasy is, a little while back we had a full writeup on what we’re aiming to do with The Speakeasy. Here’s part of that…
What you’ll see here is that rather than a message board format, The Speakeasy is now a social media feed which looks a lot like Facebook or Twitter. We think that will help engagement. It’s already certainly done that. My phone keeps popping with notifications as folks sign up and get involved.
It’s a web app at this point, meaning you can access it on your phone through a browser. By Halloween, if we hit our production target, it’ll be a fully functional mobile app through which you’ll be able to…
(1) get Hayride content ad-free
You’ve told us this is the number one thing you’re looking for out of our app, and we’re listening. It turns out that building this part is a bit harder than I expected, and it’s the main reason this project has taken longer than it should have. But we’re going to make it happen – and when we do, your viewing experience at the site through your mobile device, using the Speakeasy app, will become a million times better. No more annoying popups, no more clunky-looking banners to scroll past, no more occasional trap ads that make you think your device has a virus. All of that will be gone when you’re a subscriber to the app.
(2) access a social stream that will be full of tidbits of information, insider stuff, funny memes and other things you won’t see anywhere (and be able to participate and speak your mind without Jack or Zuck or any of their minions treating you like a naughty five-year-old)
This is what we demonstrated to a small extent with the previous iteration of The Speakeasy when it was set up in a message board format. A social stream is just better, so we’re switching to this. From the standpoint of content creation, there are lots of items out there which constitute worthwhile information to pass along to our readers, but maybe all they really require is a quick comment and a link, or an image, or a paragraph or so. Hayride posts are 300 words or more and we soup them up with images, introductory snippets for SEO purposes and so on. We’ll still post anywhere from seven to 14 of those a day, meaning The Hayride will always be a worthy place to find news even if you’re not a Speakeasy subscriber, but with the app we’ll have the ability to offer far more.
(3) enjoy a budding podcast network we’ll be building which includes an interactive livestream.
People have been bugging me to do a podcast ever since Brian Haldane and I stopped doing the Red Bayou Show. But a podcast is a pain. It’s a lot of work, and if you don’t get it off the ground with thousands of listeners every episode you’ll never be able to monetize all that time. Tucking it into the Speakeasy app means it’s a piece of premium content subscribers can enjoy, which solves the make-it-worth-your-while problem on my end. Plus, there are lots of other podcasts out there looking for an audience and some who already have one, so building out a roster of really good ones, whether they’re exclusive to the app or not, will make this section a must-visit for folks interested in podcasts. Who knows? We might even be able to make the jump from a podcast network to a streaming service down the road.
The relationship we’re seeking is, as mentioned above, not the one Facebook and Twitter have. They don’t care about you, because you’re the PRODUCT, not the customer. With us, you’re the customer. We’re not going to censor you, or fact-check you, or put you in jail, or sell your information. Instead we’ll charge you $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year. If that’s more money than you can handle, you probably shouldn’t be on social media anyway, because you need a job. For that, you get social media which treats you like a grownup and is responsive to you.
That’s a different model than these other “conservative” or “free speech” social media apps, like Gab or MeWe or Parler or Minds. All of those are better than Facebook and Twitter in that they’re committed not to censor their users, but the differences really stop there. Parler, for example, is better than Facebook or Twitter because they don’t censor their users, but they also don’t offer anything different. You post on Parler like you do on Twitter, and then you get a tenth, at best, of the engagement your tweets would get because the audience is so small.
Our plan is to build something better, which after we’ve perfected The Speakeasy as a production of The Hayride over the last three months of the year you’ll begin to see take shape. This will be a platform where content creators are celebrated and given a chance to actually make a buck or two by coming into a partnership with us, and that’ll mean the stuff you see on The Speakeasy will be better than what’s out there now.