Jaiku and Mobile Presence two weeks on

Screenshot0035I think I’ve been using Jaiku for about two weeks now.

I’ve been using two Jaiku features almost non-stop.

The first is the location element which is tied to your handset’s current Cell ID. If you fill that in as ‘Stock Road, Billericay’, then the next time your handset locks on to that cell, Jaiku will change the status accordingly. So everywhere I go, I’ve been busy mapping my local cells. The net result is that, as I walk around, my handset is — together with Jaiku — updating my location immediately. It’s viewable by any of my Jaiku friends.

Fantastic. Just fantastic.

When I find myself in a new location, Jaiku just records me as being in the ‘UK’. It’s not until I define that cell, that my friends will know where I am. Of course, I can switch off Jaiku whenever I want. But I like having it on!

The second feature I’m loving is the free-text Twitter-like status line. You can change that at any time and it’s independent of your location. It’s basically a ‘picoblog’ enabling you to publish a line of text that may, for example, be related to your presence or status. It could similarly be a thought or comment that’s popped into your mind. Right now mine reads ‘Time for some sparkling lemon and lime.’ (Ok I realise that isn’t very exciting, I just… well I felt like putting that up. So there you go.)

What’s been quite interesting to see is how this presence information is actually extremely valuable. I’ve been using it on many different levels. Sometimes I use it to see if people are available for a chat.

If someone’s Jaiku reads ‘Stressed to hell in Work, London’ then perhaps that isn’t a good time for me to call about nothing at all.

But if their Jaiku reads ‘Relaxing and chilling at Home’ then perhaps that’d be a good time to call’em.

I don’t regularly email people to say ‘how are you’, especially across the business day. However, if I’ve got a spare moment — in a lift, or in a cab or the like, Jaiku represents one of my first stops on the handset.

It’s not necessary. I don’t NEED to know your presence. I don’t NEED to know what you’re thinking or feeling. But, you know, it’s cool. It’s also not a hassle. A reader commented on one of my earlier Jaiku posts saying (I paraphrase) that it’d be a total arse having to keep on saying where you are and what you’re doing.

I don’t agree. I use it as a communications tool. It’s like a real-time RSS for a person. I put it out there to friends and if they’re reading, then, cool. If they’re all having a really busy day then that unnecessary info about me is useless and totally disregarded. Same if I’m having a really busy time of it, I won’t often refer to Jaiku.

This picoblogging is actually quite exciting to behold. I find it interesting to pick up the handset and see what folk are saying and doing. It’s not a case of being nosey. You can’t really be too nosey — it’s the wrong medium and platform for that. It does bring you together a little more though. I think it’s a useful mechanism for connecting disparate groups of people — friends, business acquaintances and so on.

I’ve been trying to get more of my friends to put it on their handset so I can understand it more.

So, well, there’s not much of a definitive summary to be had yet. I am still going through in my mind how this new medium fits into day to day life. I’m loving it.

Picoblogging all the way!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

2 replies on “Jaiku and Mobile Presence two weeks on”

I like it, apart from the fact it fails to remember the 2nd line of the location bit. Everywhere I go ends up being in “Dumbarton”, which isn’t right. Ended up setting it to Scotland as that’s at least accurate for everywhere I go regularly…

Aside from that I think it’d be really useful to get my friends on, but none of them have cheap internet access and it’d cost them (at Jaikus estimate of 10meg a month) £30-£40 a month just to run it…

Damn you, O2/Vodafone/anyone else!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.