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. What’s missing from this list? It depends what you want to do. If you’re looking for a strong connection to someone who knows a PR or legal firm or an executive you’re about to hire, you may not want to blast the request across a public network. For sensitive, high-stakes requests, you’ll want to find a strong path directly to the best source. Toby Redshaw, a corporate vice president at Motorola, spoke today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston about how they’re starting to roll out Visible Path to help handle these more transactional kinds of social network interactions. Ross Mayfield blogs about it here http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2007/06/how_to_build_an.html. Similar use cases apply to an individual. You might be happy to Tweet about your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in other cases, you’ll want the path through your network to be straighter and more private.

  2. What’s missing from this list? It depends what you want to do. If you’re looking for a strong connection to someone who knows a PR or legal firm or an executive you’re about to hire, you may not want to blast the request across a public network. For sensitive, high-stakes requests, you’ll want to find a strong path directly to the best source. Toby Redshaw, a corporate vice president at Motorola, spoke today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston about how they’re starting to roll out Visible Path to help handle these more transactional kinds of social network interactions. Ross Mayfield blogs about it here http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2007/06/how_to_build_an.html. Similar use cases apply to an individual. You might be happy to Tweet about your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in other cases, you’ll want the path through your network to be straighter and more private.

  3. Con Facebook compared to other is that one need an account to see a profile.

    PS missing Shea Israel on Facebook ;)

  4. Con Facebook compared to other is that one need an account to see a profile.

    PS missing Shea Israel on Facebook ;)

  5. I’m loving how all these websites have the ability to aggregate your RSS feeds and info, but now that creating some interesting problems with having content multiply.

    For instance my tumblr reads my twitter, as does my jaiku. Now If I get facebook and have it read my tumblr (because I create original content there), and my jaiku (cause I create orginal content there). It will now double post my tweets, and thats before I even get to having facebook read my twitter feed.

    We need some sort of smart feed system, that will update content only if it doesn’t already have it elsewhere…

    Right now engineering your own “noise” is becoming quite a task.

    Robert, you have to be having the same problem… how do you deal with it?

  6. I’m loving how all these websites have the ability to aggregate your RSS feeds and info, but now that creating some interesting problems with having content multiply.

    For instance my tumblr reads my twitter, as does my jaiku. Now If I get facebook and have it read my tumblr (because I create original content there), and my jaiku (cause I create orginal content there). It will now double post my tweets, and thats before I even get to having facebook read my twitter feed.

    We need some sort of smart feed system, that will update content only if it doesn’t already have it elsewhere…

    Right now engineering your own “noise” is becoming quite a task.

    Robert, you have to be having the same problem… how do you deal with it?

  7. I’m a fan of Plaxo – it utterly saved me when my laptop was stolen. I got my new one, downloaded the Plaxo plugin for Outlook, and within 10 minutes had all my contacts and calendar items back. No exchange server needed.

    I do like linkedin and facebook as well, but they’re definitely less “important” to me at a personal level, although I guess linkedin has helped me with some work-related stuff…

  8. I’m a fan of Plaxo – it utterly saved me when my laptop was stolen. I got my new one, downloaded the Plaxo plugin for Outlook, and within 10 minutes had all my contacts and calendar items back. No exchange server needed.

    I do like linkedin and facebook as well, but they’re definitely less “important” to me at a personal level, although I guess linkedin has helped me with some work-related stuff…

  9. Another “presence” application is Plazes.com. It uses the IP address you are connecting from to locate you, or you can update yourself. It has an addin for Skype, so your profile will show you where you are. They recently updated some features.

  10. I have a facebook account, however I rarely use it. Why? Almost everyone I would add is on Myspace (ugh!). And only 2 of my friends have a facebook account.

    I’ve been trying to move them over, but they’re all “design handicapped” and think myspace is better because you can customize it with hideous backgrounds and colors, etc.

    The only thing I would change about Facebook is their updater. As it stands now, you have to write the sentence with the words {Name} is _________. I’d rather just type in a short message in present, past, or future tense like I do in Twitter.

  11. Another “presence” application is Plazes.com. It uses the IP address you are connecting from to locate you, or you can update yourself. It has an addin for Skype, so your profile will show you where you are. They recently updated some features.

  12. I have a facebook account, however I rarely use it. Why? Almost everyone I would add is on Myspace (ugh!). And only 2 of my friends have a facebook account.

    I’ve been trying to move them over, but they’re all “design handicapped” and think myspace is better because you can customize it with hideous backgrounds and colors, etc.

    The only thing I would change about Facebook is their updater. As it stands now, you have to write the sentence with the words {Name} is _________. I’d rather just type in a short message in present, past, or future tense like I do in Twitter.

  13. I use them all for different things. Plaxo and LinkedIn are the most directly useful for business, but if you don’t live in Silicon Valley and are interested in making connections, nothing beats Twitter, where you can get fairly private background on people. As a marketing/PR person, it’s a dream to have all these applications, because you can develop relationships with people you haven’t met. It’s what you said about Fred Wilson. You would LIKE to know him. These apps are also good if you are looking for VC money, because many VCs now blog and you can learn a lot about what they are doing and not come into a pitch unprepared.

    Facebook for me is an aggregator, and it has a more reliable video uploader for me than YouTube and Googlevideo, which time out.

  14. I use them all for different things. Plaxo and LinkedIn are the most directly useful for business, but if you don’t live in Silicon Valley and are interested in making connections, nothing beats Twitter, where you can get fairly private background on people. As a marketing/PR person, it’s a dream to have all these applications, because you can develop relationships with people you haven’t met. It’s what you said about Fred Wilson. You would LIKE to know him. These apps are also good if you are looking for VC money, because many VCs now blog and you can learn a lot about what they are doing and not come into a pitch unprepared.

    Facebook for me is an aggregator, and it has a more reliable video uploader for me than YouTube and Googlevideo, which time out.

  15. I am an interested observer of these services and have even signed up for a few but what keeps me from going full steam ahead is basically that it’s a one way trip. That is, if we assume that it is possible that having all this sort of information “out there” can possibly be a bad thing sometime in the future, well, it’s too late, once you have published. Google knows all, and if Google knows, everyone knows. Basically, it’s too late to change your mind.

    Of course, I am Generation X, and we are a cynical and private bunch.

  16. I am an interested observer of these services and have even signed up for a few but what keeps me from going full steam ahead is basically that it’s a one way trip. That is, if we assume that it is possible that having all this sort of information “out there” can possibly be a bad thing sometime in the future, well, it’s too late, once you have published. Google knows all, and if Google knows, everyone knows. Basically, it’s too late to change your mind.

    Of course, I am Generation X, and we are a cynical and private bunch.

  17. something like facebook will have a profound impact on ‘paid services’ such as linkedin which are much more inflexible and expensive $$$$.

    it feels very like IM permanently on …

  18. something like facebook will have a profound impact on ‘paid services’ such as linkedin which are much more inflexible and expensive $$$$.

    it feels very like IM permanently on …

  19. Under no pretence other than shameless self promotion I would also suggest trying out Phuser. Where it differs from the services you have been talking about is that it is extremely low noise because it is for private groups – just the people you care about.

    Because of this it has better network handling than Facebook (easy to keep groups separate: friends, work, sports, family, etc). It also does some cool things with SMS which no-one else is doing. SMS works internationally, not just in the USA and Canada. I admit the site is still a bit rough but we are getting there!

    Friday we are launching our Mornington Crescent game so people can get an idea of what Phuser can do. Do check it out!

  20. Under no pretence other than shameless self promotion I would also suggest trying out Phuser. Where it differs from the services you have been talking about is that it is extremely low noise because it is for private groups – just the people you care about.

    Because of this it has better network handling than Facebook (easy to keep groups separate: friends, work, sports, family, etc). It also does some cool things with SMS which no-one else is doing. SMS works internationally, not just in the USA and Canada. I admit the site is still a bit rough but we are getting there!

    Friday we are launching our Mornington Crescent game so people can get an idea of what Phuser can do. Do check it out!

  21. I understood Twitter only recently and like Jaiku look more than twitter’s. Have been keeping away from facebook, because I never liked visiting others’ profiles to see what is happening which is why I like twitter more. But then, my orkut list has 100+ entries but twitter list has 2 :(
    And why do you think dodgeball (acquired by google) isn’t in the race ?

  22. I understood Twitter only recently and like Jaiku look more than twitter’s. Have been keeping away from facebook, because I never liked visiting others’ profiles to see what is happening which is why I like twitter more. But then, my orkut list has 100+ entries but twitter list has 2 :(
    And why do you think dodgeball (acquired by google) isn’t in the race ?

  23. Excellent post. Haven’t used Twitter (I should try it) much but Facebook seems to have taken the world by storm; and I can see why. I think they got it just right; clean, fun and huge (genuine) user base.

    Oh, and feel free to add me to your endless list of Facebook contacts Robert :-) (i think they should be using your profile for performance testing)

  24. Excellent post. Haven’t used Twitter (I should try it) much but Facebook seems to have taken the world by storm; and I can see why. I think they got it just right; clean, fun and huge (genuine) user base.

    Oh, and feel free to add me to your endless list of Facebook contacts Robert :-) (i think they should be using your profile for performance testing)

  25. I had a good answer but it’s super long so I’ll just answer on my blog and trackback to ya. One thing – I haven’t dipped into Plaxo for eons, but I had an experience with LinkedIn that is making me want to try again. LinkedIn helped me get back in touch with a lot of my contacts who were in my Gmail address book and already on LinkedIn. They in turn helped me get plugged back in.

  26. I had a good answer but it’s super long so I’ll just answer on my blog and trackback to ya. One thing – I haven’t dipped into Plaxo for eons, but I had an experience with LinkedIn that is making me want to try again. LinkedIn helped me get back in touch with a lot of my contacts who were in my Gmail address book and already on LinkedIn. They in turn helped me get plugged back in.

  27. Agree with Brandon, The Plaxo preview is good and I have been using if for a while now, but not sure if it will be opened for a public beta on Monday. There are a few issues that need to be ironed out…

  28. Agree with Brandon, The Plaxo preview is good and I have been using if for a while now, but not sure if it will be opened for a public beta on Monday. There are a few issues that need to be ironed out…

  29. I use Twitter, Jaiku and Facebook. A lot.

    But I got kicked off FB again today for the third time in two weeks. Apparently I misuse the notes feature, because I import my Jaiku feed there.

    It’s a big problem, especially as I’m advocating using FB for our business.

    Apart from that, there’s the big debate about the shifting boundaries between private/public as well as private/professional.

  30. I use Twitter, Jaiku and Facebook. A lot.

    But I got kicked off FB again today for the third time in two weeks. Apparently I misuse the notes feature, because I import my Jaiku feed there.

    It’s a big problem, especially as I’m advocating using FB for our business.

    Apart from that, there’s the big debate about the shifting boundaries between private/public as well as private/professional.

  31. I’m definitely a frequent user of Plaxo and LinkedIn, but Facebook is the most useful/fun of the services you mentioned.

    The clean interface of Facebook, third-party add-ins and mobile functionality will keep fueling the site’s growth. After linking your mobile, you can actually create content and interact with other users all through SMS.

  32. I’m definitely a frequent user of Plaxo and LinkedIn, but Facebook is the most useful/fun of the services you mentioned.

    The clean interface of Facebook, third-party add-ins and mobile functionality will keep fueling the site’s growth. After linking your mobile, you can actually create content and interact with other users all through SMS.

  33. I choose to call them transitional web apps – you can see more about them at jaikuwiki.org under “transitional web apps” in the sidebar. there’s also links to my numourous blogposts about this tendency and why i think it rocks =)

    be good Robert – hope Maryam’s pregnancy is going fine =)

  34. I choose to call them transitional web apps – you can see more about them at jaikuwiki.org under “transitional web apps” in the sidebar. there’s also links to my numourous blogposts about this tendency and why i think it rocks =)

    be good Robert – hope Maryam’s pregnancy is going fine =)

  35. I’ve got to know what you are talking about with Plaxo. The preview is great, but doesn’t seem ready for Monday.

  36. I’ve got to know what you are talking about with Plaxo. The preview is great, but doesn’t seem ready for Monday.

  37. We use Twitter to keep our clients updated about information on our products and services. This is definitely a pretty good business app. Our clients get these messages as text messages on their phone. This instant interactivity using twitter is a big success with out client group. We do have a company blog but twitter brings in some kinda instant communication tool. Apart from this business use, I use twitter, jaiku, facebook, etc. on the personal level too.

  38. We use Twitter to keep our clients updated about information on our products and services. This is definitely a pretty good business app. Our clients get these messages as text messages on their phone. This instant interactivity using twitter is a big success with out client group. We do have a company blog but twitter brings in some kinda instant communication tool. Apart from this business use, I use twitter, jaiku, facebook, etc. on the personal level too.

Comments are closed.