Tags: jaiku



Social networking

Here’s a list of websites on which I have an account and which involve some form of social networking. I’m listing them in order of how often I visit. I’m also listing how many contacts/buddies/friends/connections/people I have on each site.

My Social Networks
Linked inRarely90

This is just a snapshot of activity so some of the data may be slightly skewed. Pownce, for instance, is quite a new site so my visits may increase or decrease dramatically over time. Also, though I’ve listed Del.icio.us as a daily visit, it’s really just the bookmarklet or Adactio Elsewhere that I use every day—I hardly ever visit the site itself.

Other sites that I visit on a daily basis don’t have a social networking component: blogs, news sites, Technorati, The Session (hmmm… must do something about that).

In general, the more often I use a service, the more likely I am to have many connections there. But there are some glaring exceptions. I have hardly any connections on Del.icio.us because the social networking aspect is fairly tangential to the site’s main purpose.

More interestingly, there are some exceptions that run in the other direction. I have lots of connections on Linked in and Facebook but I don’t use them much at all. In the case of Linked in, that’s because I don’t really have any incentive. I’m sure it would be a different story if I were looking for a job.

As for Facebook, I really don’t like the way it tries to be a one-stop shop for everything. It feels like a walled garden to me. I much prefer services that choose to do one thing but do it really well:

Mind you, there’s now some crossover in the events space when the events are musical in nature. The next Salter Cane concert is on Last.fm but it links off to the Upcoming event … which then loops back to Last.fm.

I haven’t settled on a book reading site yet. It’s a toss-up between Anobbii and Revish. It could go either way. One of the deciding factors will be how many of friends use each service. That’s the reason why I use Twitter more than Jaiku. Jaiku is superior in almost every way but more of my friends use Twitter. Inertia keeps me on Twitter. It’s probably just inertia that keeps me Del.icio.us rather than Ma.gnolia.

The sum total of all my connections on all these services comes to 890. But of course most of these are the same people showing up on different sites. I reckon the total amount of individual people doesn’t exceed 250. Of that, there’s probably a core of 50 people who I have connected to on at least 5 services. It’s for these people that I would really, really like to have portable social networks.

Each one of the services I’ve listed should follow these three steps. In order of difficulty:

  1. Provide a publicly addressable list of my connections. Nearly all the sites listed already do this.
  2. Mark up the list of connections with hCard and, where appropriate, XFN. Twitter, Flickr, Ma.gnolia, Pownce, Cork’d and Upcoming already do this.
  3. Provide a form with a field to paste the URL of another service where I have suitably marked-up connections. Parse and attempt to import connections found there.

That last step is the tricky one. Dopplr is the first site to attempt this. That’s the way to do it. Other social networking sites, take note.

It’s time that social networking sites really made an effort to allow not just the free flow of data, but also the free flow of relationships.

Life streams and Jaiku

After I wrote about mashing up RSS feeds to create a sort of life stream, some people have taken this idea and run with it. Probably my favourite implementation is Deliciously Meta from Steve Ivy, which looks very classy. For Wordpress users, Chris J. Davis has created a plug-in. Check out his own life stream to see it in action.

Just the other day, I came across a site which allows you to create a life stream by entering a series of URLs. The site is Jaiku.

Jaiku is a Finnish competitor to Twitter—with the added benefit of a life stream thrown in. You send the site little updates of what you’re doing (via the Web or mobile) and you track what your friends are up to.

In many ways, Jaiku is superior to Twitter. It certainly looks a lot better. It feels snappier. The markup is clean. There’s also a dedicated mobile client for Nokia smart phones. All in all, it’s a slick, fun site.

And yet… simply by virtue of the fact that I discovered it after Twitter, I’m unlikely to use Jaiku as much. It all comes back to the issue of creating yet another network of friends on yet another social networking site: I don’t feel very motivated to do it and I suspect that none of my contacts on Twitter relish the prospect either.

Khoi posited the idea that the exclusivity of social networks may be a feature, not a bug. That may be true to a certain extent. On Last.fm, my criteria for adding a contact is not just my relationship with that person, but also whether or not they have crappy taste in music. On Twitter, I only add people I’ve met in real life. Perhaps I’ll end up using Jaiku for a limited subset of people I know: maybe I’ll use it just for tracking my Central European Tribe comrades.

But what I really want is to be able to take all my friends from Twitter and quickly and easily port them over to Jaiku. Alas, in the absence of hCard and XFN on Twitter, this seems unlikely. A movement in the other direction seems more likely given that Jaiku is using hCard.

Meanwhile, I could kill two birds with one stone and add my RSS feed from Twitter to my life stream on Jaiku. That way, every time I post to Twitter, it would show up on Jaiku. I wonder if that would constitute “gaming” the system?

If I wanted to game the system in a harmless but fun way, I could have some fun with the query string on Jaiku and post the results to Flickr. D’oh! They fixed it: that was fast!