Exploring my web browsing
Linking Into Cloaked Circles

Conversation Ecosystem

Jaiku cupcakeWE HAVE AN EXAM question in our Christmas series that invites students to comment on the conversation ecosystem called Jaiku. Students do not get to eat Marie Clausager's Jaiku cupcake. The Media Writing students (a freshman or first year module as we call it in Ireland) have an opportunity to write a sidebar article about their personal experience in Jaikustan, the hypothetical community we have fenced out as part of the creative multimedia degree programme. As in all communities, this online chat zone has evolved for our use as a social publishing channel in three short months. I think our lessons learned go beyond the hype and make interesting reading for someone considering the viability of thin conversation layers spawned by Jaiku, Twitter and Pownce. All of them have contributed to a conversation ecosystem that has gone unnoticed--or under-appreciated--by much of the mainstream IT community.

We use Jaiku for threaded commentary. Although it can be used to blast one-way messages, our graded assessments focus people on responding to threads of discussion. Since everyone knows Jaiku is designed to fit on a phone as well as in a web browser, they keep their comments tightly focused. This has resulted in lecturers getting immediate and accurate 360 feedback on important topics. During class, I make a comment known as a revision concept, then tell students that my comment will be added to our Jaiku college channel. Those who respond to my comment in a meaningful way will earn academic credit under a continuous assessment category. Sometimes I pass around a Nokia 9500 and students browse over to the mobile side of Jaiku to make live comments in the classroom.

Threaded commentaries on Jaiku help focus our analysis on developments in our Skunkworks, our acquisition of new equipment and on updating our syllabus of instruction. Everyone likes quick closure on individual items and we can post an item (e.g., a proposed model of equipment) for comment and within a few minutes, everyone involved can see cross-talk about the gear. I have learned more about sophisticated technology this way than through conference calls because people stay focused when dealing with constraints on word count. Jaiku forces you to consider whether what you write will actually trickle all the way to your readers because when you write too many words, your message truncates on handsets that some of our programme specialists use to follow the flow.

We know there are no rules to using group text systems but we also know that common courtesy needs to extend to this new communications platform. Since we have started using Jaiku for classroom and staff cross-talk, we have minimised casual chat and become more like airline dispatchers, sometimes using acronyms and reserved terminology to close the gap between idea and actualisation.

Any communications system that accelerates the accomplishment of real work while reducing idle time along the way is welcome in my world. I have converted those time savings into more time at home. And that time shifting is the most welcome contribution Jaiku has made to my personal conversation ecosystem.

Dave Delaney -- "Are you using Twitter?"
Scott Karp -- "Why I stopped using Twitter". Real answer: Twitter cakes taste like Twinkies. Jaiku cupcakes are the real thing.
David Armano -- "Why is Twitter exploding?"
I listen to twitter.com/topgold and comment via topgold.jaiku.com.