Google bought Jaiku
Tech nerds whipped into frenzy
Though they don’t know why.
One of the advantages of launching into Social Media is that everything is so new, you can’t be that far behind.
One of the disadvantages of forecasting Social Media is that everything is so new, you might catch a case of S.O.S. (shiny object syndrome)
Earlier this week, interest in a little web-service called Jaiku spiked out of the blue, when the service was swallowed up by Google. Within minutes, the prognosticators were jumping in with predictions about what this will mean for Jaiku, Google, Twitter, blogs, and life as we will know it next year. There’s so much interest in Jaiku that the current owners have shut down new registrations in order to upgrade the back-end.
What is Jaiku exactly, and why should I care?
What is in a name?
Web 2.0 confuses.
How will I use this?
Jaiku is another one of those “difficult to define web applications.” It was started in Finland and has achieved greater success in Europe. (Disclosure alert: Brian Solis does PR for Jaiku, but Ike didn’t consult him for this piece, and has never actually spoken to Brian.) Somewhat like Twitter and Pownce, Jaiku is designed to let you build a community of your friends and rapidly share messages with them. Like Pownce, Jaiku allows for commenting on these short updates. Like Twitter, Jaiku allows the information to flow out of the web and into Instant Message and SMS (text messaging.) It allows you to update your circle of followers and receive updates in the time and place of your choosing.
One of the barriers to Jaiku’s success in North America has been the unwillingness of U.S.-based cellphone carriers to allow text messages from overseas. My sneaking suspicion is that will be the very first thing Google addresses. Pronto. But expect Jaiku to get a lot of attention, particularly as Google starts integrating it with GMail, GTalk, GApps, Orkut, and everything else in the Googleverse. Google recognizes the advantages of keeping data nimble and cross-functional.
How will I use Jaiku?
A thing’s just a thing.
Value and utility
Defined by users
This class of services has been alternately referred to as”micro-blogging” or “lifestreams.” Neither of those terms really satisfy me, because they are still telling me more about what I ought to do with it than what I can do with it. There are some very frivolous messages posting across all those networks. But you don’t have to tune in to anything you don’t want to. There are people using them as proxy-RSS feeds – for syndicating news headlines – for simply staying in touch. Because the freedom of input options seems to be as wide as the freedom of consumption options, the network maps of these services are constantly in flux, and are totally variable to the users’ wishes.
For services like these, we really need a better name that describes as class of “solutions in search of a problem.” The word “mashup” clearly defines applications that provide greater value by showing the same data along multiple perspectives. What we’re talking about with Jaiku/Twitter are systems that show the same data along multiple media, both input and output. I previously likened Twitter to the Rosetta Stone. The analogy fits here, but is a little restrictive. In this case, I like “Context/Location Independent Communications Connection.” A CLICC. Pronounced just like “clique” – and very descriptive of a networked group who have voluntarily opted-in.
Joining a network
Without purpose is silly?
Learning means doing.
Should you just rush out and join Jaiku, or Twitter for that matter? Not if you are expecting some type of instant results. The benefit of getting wet with these networks comes as you determine your own level of value. Maybe the functional aspects of a CLICC still aren’t relevant to you. Maybe it just becomes a big time drain. But it’s also quite likely that the more forms of Social Networking you become familiar with will better inform your judgments about the ones that are more germane to your bottom line. Those who have dabbled in bulletin boards and forums and blogs all have a better seat-of-the-pants feel for how those interfaces affect the size and mood of a community. The broader your baseline, the more tactical you can be in plotting your next step.