Jaiku/Twitter/Facebook/Kyte/Plaxo = something happening you should pay attention to

Neil Vineberg, Jaiku's PR guy at the party

I’ve really been bitten by the Facebook/Twitter/Kyte/Jaiku bug. Stephanie Booth, everyone’s favorite Swiss blogger, met me tonight at the Jaiku party (that’s Jaiku’s PR guy, Neil Vineberg holding the Jaiku poster) and said I had to add Dopplr to my bag of tricks (it keeps track of where you, and your friends, are). Forget Dopplr right now, because most of you haven’t yet experienced many of these five services that help you share your presence and other things about what you’re doing, or what you’re thinking about with other people.

Why am I using these services nearly every hour of my waking life? Because they are being talked about and I want to learn what is making people so passionate — nearly everyone in the industry I meet either loves these things or despises them. It seems that every conversation lately is about one of these five services and how they’re potentially changing how we communicate with each other. Translation: there’s a lot of hype here and we’re trying to figure out what they are good for and whether the hype is justified. In my opinion: it is.

I’m not sure what we should call this group of apps. Presence updaters? Microbloggers? Social networkers?

I totally grok why Facebook is quickly becoming the most important social network and presence updater on the Web. If you get added to my Facebook Friends list (it’s easy, just ask) you’ll see that it aggregates a whole bunch of things onto one page. My Kyte videos are there. My Twitter tweets are there. My shared items, er link blog, from Google Reader is there. And a lot more. Plus you can visit any one of my nearly 500 friends and see all their stuff.

So, let’s quickly look at pros and cons of each of these services. First, read Dare Obasanjo’s post on why Facebook is bigger than Blogging to give you a look at his opinion of why these things are getting more attention lately than blogging is.

TWITTER+++++++++++++++++++

Pros of Twitter: It’s the lightest weight of all five of these services. It has the fewest features, but that’s what I like about it. It just provides a constant stream of updates from my friends. I use an app called Twitterrific on my Mac. It’s like an IM service there. I also use Twitter’s Mobile app on my phone to enter Twitter posts (we call them “Tweets”) from the road. Twitter does one thing and one thing well: let me enter messages from IM clients, the Web, a mobile app on my phone, or from other applications via its API and it brings me back my friends’ Tweets efficiently and quickly. Its API brings me tons of apps like my favorite TwitterVision (putting that on screen during conferences always gets ooohhhs and aaaahhhhhs — most people in the world don’t have any clue that something like Twitter exists). So far Twitter has far superior contact handling to its closest competitor, Jaiku, too. That’s one reason why I haven’t switched over to Jaiku yet. I can’t even see if someone has added me as a contact on Jaiku and I can’t add everyone who has added me into my own contact list (something I CAN do on Twitter).

Cons of Twitter: Because it only lets you do one thing — write 140-characters — Twitter gets a LOT of noise. At least it’s noise to someone who looks at my Twitter for the first time. For instance, right now Christian Burns wrote “No really, my arm is killing me.” Now that might seem like noise to someone who doesn’t know Christian. And it is. But, I like hearing such things from my friends. Gives me something to talk about when we get together next time. “How’s that arm doing, Christian?” tells him that I care about him and was paying attention to his Tweets. But it does get old, particularly if you’re like me and you added way too many people into your Twitter contact list. The Twitter service has also been pretty slow. It still takes WAY too long for the Twitter Web site to load up. It’s probably 100 times slower, on average, than a Google page. They need to improve that A LOT to get to Facebook levels. So far it looks like there’s a few hundred thousand people on Twitter. That’s about 10 times as many as Jaiku, but a small pimple on the 25 million that are on Facebook (and Facebook has far less than MySpace).

JAIKU++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pros: Shows replies to a specific message. I like that sometimes, other times it adds more complexity than Twitter. I like the speed of Jaiku better than Twitter, particularly on the Web app. Part of that might be that I have 4,000+ contacts on Twitter, which is probably slowing down my page load times. The design of Jaiku is nicer than Twitter, too, overall. The mobile app has more features. For instance, if you meet another Jaiku user who has Bluetooth enabled phone it’ll tell you there’s someone new in your vicinity. Jaiku also aggregates messages and RSS feeds and photos from other services. For instance, if you visit my Jaiku page you’ll see my Twitters, my Flickr photos, my Google Reader’s shared items, my blog posts, and more. Adds more complexity than Twitter, but makes it a more useful service too. Particularly for someone who wants a one-page place to show their family everything they are up to.

Cons: the mobile app needs some power-management work. When I use it on my Nokia the battery gets sucked in a few hours (Kyte’s app has the same problem) so I have to be careful to only use the Jaiku mobile app when I have plenty of power, or access to my charger. They say they are working on this. Jaiku’s contact manager needs a lot of work, too. They say that’s on the roadmap, but right now Twitter is way ahead. I also like the Twitter Facebook application better than the Jaiku one.

KYTE.TV+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pros: Lets me use video, photos, and chat to communicate with all of you. Last night I put up a little video that I filmed with Patrick using nothing but the camera in my Macintosh. Very fast (the fastest way to get video up on the Internet that I know of) and there was an instant audience there to talk about it. Plus, you see the same video no matter where you see my Kyte. Have Kyte’s mobile phone app? You see it there. You’ll also see the exact same thing at the same time on Facebook. Or on my blog (if WordPress let me put the widget here).

Cons: Isn’t a microblogging service like Twitter or Jaiku. So, if all you want to do is tell your friends you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, you probably will be better off with one of those two services. The UI is a bit confusing. Once you see it used you realize it’s pretty easy, but quick, sign in and figure out how to open a channel and upload a video. It needs too much handholding.

FACEBOOK++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pros: has the “updatedness” of Twitter and Jaiku but has a ton of other stuff too. Much better contact management than others. The only service that lets third party developers plug in applications. The best “home page” of the group (aka your profile page). Has a Twitter-like feature too, but that’s not its strength.

Cons: if all you want is a way to tell your friends what you’re up to without all the extras Twitter is better for you. I use both. Adding everyone who is following you as a friend is easier on Twitter (much easier, actually).

PLAXO++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Come back on Monday cause I have a lot more to say about Plaxo after they come out with their new stuff.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Conclusions: if you held a gun to my head and made me choose only one of these services I’d pick Facebook. Especially if I already didn’t have a blog as a platform to communicate with other people. But, there’s a lot of value in all of these, particularly in Kyte.tv because it lets me add video and chat to Facebook and in Twitter, because I have a lightweight way to communicate with other people. I like all of these services, though, for different reasons and will continue using them all.

What’s missing from this list? LinkedIn is the biggest. I have to add that to my toolbag. I also have to try Dopplr. The Radar.net folks showed me a new client they are working on that I’ll have to try out too.

What about you? What’s keeping you from joining in on these services? Do you see any business uses? (I do, will try to write up my thoughts on those).

98 thoughts on “Jaiku/Twitter/Facebook/Kyte/Plaxo = something happening you should pay attention to

  1. I’m pretty much overwhelmed by all of the blogging/micro-blogging/personal update tools out there, though that’s probably because I’m trying to do ten things at once: network, keep up with friends, meet new people, explore next career steps, experiment with social media, and on and on.

    Twitter is unique in my mind because it is so simple. Facebook is powerful but has the same drawback as Myspace which is that there’s so much. I believe people out there are as overwhelmed as I am and are looking for simpler, lower tech solutions. I believe we are seeing regression to the mean with Twitter, moving to a platform that does one thing really well.

    The truly sticky users, the ones who provide long-term revenues are the ones who don’t necessarily have dozens of accounts with social media services but know what they want and need.

  2. I’m pretty much overwhelmed by all of the blogging/micro-blogging/personal update tools out there, though that’s probably because I’m trying to do ten things at once: network, keep up with friends, meet new people, explore next career steps, experiment with social media, and on and on.

    Twitter is unique in my mind because it is so simple. Facebook is powerful but has the same drawback as Myspace which is that there’s so much. I believe people out there are as overwhelmed as I am and are looking for simpler, lower tech solutions. I believe we are seeing regression to the mean with Twitter, moving to a platform that does one thing really well.

    The truly sticky users, the ones who provide long-term revenues are the ones who don’t necessarily have dozens of accounts with social media services but know what they want and need.

  3. Erica’s little comment above about an impending Web 2.0 Crash in 2009 is the item on this page that resonated loudest with me. And Shawn Oster’s comments are definitely noteworthy as well – people like to talk, not listen…

    All of these apps remind me of toys. They are cool and they are fun to play with. And because they are essentially free to the user, there is no reason not to get one and have some fun.

    But unless they provide some practical value at the very root level, they all run the high risk of gathering dust in the garage when the next new toy comes out…and there is SO much money involved in all of this…I know the Facebook guy turned down a cool billion from Yahoo, and he may have actually made the right choice considering Facebook’s present value.

    I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but something just seems shaky about this whole picture…Maybe I’m one of the few people left in this world that really doesn’t give a **** about knowing that my friends are watching TV right now…or maybe I just don’t want to invest the time making the lifestyle change required to learn and use ALL of these apps…

    For whatever reason, I just can’t get into this Facebook/Twitter/Kyte/Jaiku/Dopplr/Plaxo/Phuser/MySpace thing…I’m fascinated by it all, but just not even close to being hooked…

  4. Erica’s little comment above about an impending Web 2.0 Crash in 2009 is the item on this page that resonated loudest with me. And Shawn Oster’s comments are definitely noteworthy as well – people like to talk, not listen…

    All of these apps remind me of toys. They are cool and they are fun to play with. And because they are essentially free to the user, there is no reason not to get one and have some fun.

    But unless they provide some practical value at the very root level, they all run the high risk of gathering dust in the garage when the next new toy comes out…and there is SO much money involved in all of this…I know the Facebook guy turned down a cool billion from Yahoo, and he may have actually made the right choice considering Facebook’s present value.

    I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but something just seems shaky about this whole picture…Maybe I’m one of the few people left in this world that really doesn’t give a **** about knowing that my friends are watching TV right now…or maybe I just don’t want to invest the time making the lifestyle change required to learn and use ALL of these apps…

    For whatever reason, I just can’t get into this Facebook/Twitter/Kyte/Jaiku/Dopplr/Plaxo/Phuser/MySpace thing…I’m fascinated by it all, but just not even close to being hooked…

  5. I wonder how these apps with basic functionalities (e.g. Twittering, etc.) do have any real economic potential.
    Their features are easily replicateable. I don’t think it would take much time to add such features to any common webapp.
    Might be good for a bit of a fad during dotcom boom 2.0 though.
    Only facebook looks like of some real long term value

  6. I wonder how these apps with basic functionalities (e.g. Twittering, etc.) do have any real economic potential.
    Their features are easily replicateable. I don’t think it would take much time to add such features to any common webapp.
    Might be good for a bit of a fad during dotcom boom 2.0 though.
    Only facebook looks like of some real long term value

  7. You failed to mention channels on Jaiku which are the killer app that brought me over from twitter. They help to cut down the noise level and you can use them as subject oriented feed aggregators which is awesome. Like for Irish lawyers, I’ve set up a channel which aggregates blog posts and event feeds for what is a reasonably small community.

  8. You failed to mention channels on Jaiku which are the killer app that brought me over from twitter. They help to cut down the noise level and you can use them as subject oriented feed aggregators which is awesome. Like for Irish lawyers, I’ve set up a channel which aggregates blog posts and event feeds for what is a reasonably small community.

  9. We’ve been studying social nets for the last 4 years or so, the latest ones are “3rd generation” (think of MySpace as 2nd Gen, Chatrooms and Friends Reunited as first gen) and are really showing the learning from previous incarnations.

    Right now we are experimenting with embedding our blog (broadstuff) within facebook – a sort of conversational medium inside a social net – to see what lessons can belearned, as we think this is the potential path for “4th Generation” social nets

  10. We’ve been studying social nets for the last 4 years or so, the latest ones are “3rd generation” (think of MySpace as 2nd Gen, Chatrooms and Friends Reunited as first gen) and are really showing the learning from previous incarnations.

    Right now we are experimenting with embedding our blog (broadstuff) within facebook – a sort of conversational medium inside a social net – to see what lessons can belearned, as we think this is the potential path for “4th Generation” social nets

  11. Gotta agree with Herschel and Shawn Oster.

    I’m a blogger, and my blog is probably not interesting to anyone that doesn’t know me or isn’t related to me – and that’s OK. I live away from a lot of friends and family and this is my ‘life-line’ to them.

    I tried Twitter and Facebook, but they just couldn’t hold me – I use Google reader to glean information from a number of sources, on a variety of topics, but I think that’s about as plugged in as I would ever need to be.

    Most of my friends are in the real world, and while they see the web as a great tool, most of them feel that life is meant to be lived ‘outside’.

    Me – I love the ‘net, but there’s only so much time I can spend in a chair, or looking at a phone to update my twitter.

    Great reviews, however, and I’m probably going to give Plaxo another look.

  12. Gotta agree with Herschel and Shawn Oster.

    I’m a blogger, and my blog is probably not interesting to anyone that doesn’t know me or isn’t related to me – and that’s OK. I live away from a lot of friends and family and this is my ‘life-line’ to them.

    I tried Twitter and Facebook, but they just couldn’t hold me – I use Google reader to glean information from a number of sources, on a variety of topics, but I think that’s about as plugged in as I would ever need to be.

    Most of my friends are in the real world, and while they see the web as a great tool, most of them feel that life is meant to be lived ‘outside’.

    Me – I love the ‘net, but there’s only so much time I can spend in a chair, or looking at a phone to update my twitter.

    Great reviews, however, and I’m probably going to give Plaxo another look.

  13. Just thought I would put my little prediction from the Firepit at the Ritz in HMB here in writing – Dopplr will be one of the sites to survive the Web 2.0 Crash of 2009 :)

    Just my opinion – but Mark My Words :)

  14. Just thought I would put my little prediction from the Firepit at the Ritz in HMB here in writing – Dopplr will be one of the sites to survive the Web 2.0 Crash of 2009 :)

    Just my opinion – but Mark My Words :)

  15. June 22nd, ’07… afternoon – (2:34pm – JST)

    Hi Rob,

    Yes, one by one I have read each of the above entities, and enjoyed all of them! … and have made my notes, and when I get the time I will definitely
    become one of the ‘new’ members of ‘Facebook’.

    Rob, your “live” presentation this past Saturdy, June 16th, was very well presented, but a lot of the ‘talk’ was just a bit “over my head” ….yet, still
    very interesting.

    I am surprised not to find any of the ‘members’ in the list, above, and just wonder when that may become a reality. Wouldn’t it be strange if I, the
    ‘Novice’ = ” beginner” would be first of our group! I just have to sudy more
    of those who ‘present’ before I get my comments out to “FB”.

    Any help you can give to me for the “FEN” connection, will be greatly appreciated.

    A question, what is the meaning of the “time” indicated? Is that “JST” ? or
    where does that represent?

    You now have my email address and can contact me there anytime.

    Thanks again,
    “perky”

  16. June 22nd, ’07… afternoon – (2:34pm – JST)

    Hi Rob,

    Yes, one by one I have read each of the above entities, and enjoyed all of them! … and have made my notes, and when I get the time I will definitely
    become one of the ‘new’ members of ‘Facebook’.

    Rob, your “live” presentation this past Saturdy, June 16th, was very well presented, but a lot of the ‘talk’ was just a bit “over my head” ….yet, still
    very interesting.

    I am surprised not to find any of the ‘members’ in the list, above, and just wonder when that may become a reality. Wouldn’t it be strange if I, the
    ‘Novice’ = ” beginner” would be first of our group! I just have to sudy more
    of those who ‘present’ before I get my comments out to “FB”.

    Any help you can give to me for the “FEN” connection, will be greatly appreciated.

    A question, what is the meaning of the “time” indicated? Is that “JST” ? or
    where does that represent?

    You now have my email address and can contact me there anytime.

    Thanks again,
    “perky”

  17. While I’ve signed up for a lot of the services I’m not quite feeling the love. You have to have a large circle of egocentric friends in order for the services to really be useful, you know, the hipsters that just have to know what you’re doing so they can do one better.

    What I *don’t* like about any of these services is that they’re all ego-based delayed communications. They are popular because they appeal to people’s innate desire for attention and all communication is at either the Princess or Peasent level, you either broadcast your pearls of wisdom on your own blog or you grovel at the comments of someone elses. Basically I wonder what they’re doing for basic, direct, face to face communication skills.

    On the other hand for some people they seem to really be the best way for them to make friends and enjoy a social connection, whether it be because they are uncomfortable in face-to-face talks or because they are in a remote or busy location. Those are definitly the positive points.

  18. While I’ve signed up for a lot of the services I’m not quite feeling the love. You have to have a large circle of egocentric friends in order for the services to really be useful, you know, the hipsters that just have to know what you’re doing so they can do one better.

    What I *don’t* like about any of these services is that they’re all ego-based delayed communications. They are popular because they appeal to people’s innate desire for attention and all communication is at either the Princess or Peasent level, you either broadcast your pearls of wisdom on your own blog or you grovel at the comments of someone elses. Basically I wonder what they’re doing for basic, direct, face to face communication skills.

    On the other hand for some people they seem to really be the best way for them to make friends and enjoy a social connection, whether it be because they are uncomfortable in face-to-face talks or because they are in a remote or busy location. Those are definitly the positive points.

  19. Robert,
    Great high speed intro and call to arms! I’m already digging in on a couple of those. Like your earlier post about Plaxo, I adopted that when it first came out and came to hate it. Jaiku and Twitter have their place, but I seriously need to recruit more friends to either one.

    For Facebook, it is easy to see what you pointed out. The profile page with anything and everything is a bit busy but can be a lot fun, and it allows me to see all the things someone is into and doing at the same time.

    Thanks for the quickie post and the encouragement to try Plaxo again.

  20. Robert,
    Great high speed intro and call to arms! I’m already digging in on a couple of those. Like your earlier post about Plaxo, I adopted that when it first came out and came to hate it. Jaiku and Twitter have their place, but I seriously need to recruit more friends to either one.

    For Facebook, it is easy to see what you pointed out. The profile page with anything and everything is a bit busy but can be a lot fun, and it allows me to see all the things someone is into and doing at the same time.

    Thanks for the quickie post and the encouragement to try Plaxo again.

  21. Robert all of these apps are examples of iPALS – identity,presence, attention, location, streams.

    For example Twitter has my identity, attention, location and using Twitterific I get a stream od information.

    I could do the same with Plazes, Jaiku, Particls etc.

    Of course FaceBook is THE biggest example of a iPALS application aggregating my flickr, twitter, plazes, kyte, presence, profile/friends etc all in one place

    The only downside is that FB is a silo with no RSS out but if I could share my FB profile as an RSS feed with others then people might subscribe to it to learn what I am reading, watching, browsing etc. There is a longer post on why we would want to aggregate and data mine our friends lifestreams for Discovery but that is not for here and now.

    Bottom-line we are on a path to aggregating out lifestreams. Eventually we will share these using APML and then application like Feed Readers will be able to read APML and they will help discover needs things. Until then I too will use multiple apps.

  22. Robert all of these apps are examples of iPALS – identity,presence, attention, location, streams.

    For example Twitter has my identity, attention, location and using Twitterific I get a stream od information.

    I could do the same with Plazes, Jaiku, Particls etc.

    Of course FaceBook is THE biggest example of a iPALS application aggregating my flickr, twitter, plazes, kyte, presence, profile/friends etc all in one place

    The only downside is that FB is a silo with no RSS out but if I could share my FB profile as an RSS feed with others then people might subscribe to it to learn what I am reading, watching, browsing etc. There is a longer post on why we would want to aggregate and data mine our friends lifestreams for Discovery but that is not for here and now.

    Bottom-line we are on a path to aggregating out lifestreams. Eventually we will share these using APML and then application like Feed Readers will be able to read APML and they will help discover needs things. Until then I too will use multiple apps.

  23. I am mainly using Jaiku, and enjoy it. I started on Twitter, but once I joined Jaiku [I am rjeffries] I’ve never looked back. (Both app are slower than they should be.)

    I tried to join Facebook. Evidently I missed the first captcha. At that point it kept upping the ante of captcha difficulty.

    I finally threw in the towel, too frustrated to continue.

  24. I am mainly using Jaiku, and enjoy it. I started on Twitter, but once I joined Jaiku [I am rjeffries] I’ve never looked back. (Both app are slower than they should be.)

    I tried to join Facebook. Evidently I missed the first captcha. At that point it kept upping the ante of captcha difficulty.

    I finally threw in the towel, too frustrated to continue.

  25. I got a Twitter account when you first started writing about it. Me and a couple friends played around with it but got bored. I guess if you don’t have 4,400 or so ‘friends’ then using group chat in any instant messenger client is much more personal.

    I guess there is a place for Twitter, but not sure what just yet.

    Robert,
    How do I get added as your friend in Twitter. Dumb me couldn’t find anyway to do that.

  26. I got a Twitter account when you first started writing about it. Me and a couple friends played around with it but got bored. I guess if you don’t have 4,400 or so ‘friends’ then using group chat in any instant messenger client is much more personal.

    I guess there is a place for Twitter, but not sure what just yet.

    Robert,
    How do I get added as your friend in Twitter. Dumb me couldn’t find anyway to do that.

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