6 Practical applications of Jaiku
1. Taskmaster for the self-employed:
Discipline is one of the hardest things about working for yourself. Especially if you work on a computer, where the web is a carnival of distractions. However, when I jaiku what I’m doing, eg. “working on website X template”, I stick to it better. Because my friends just read that. And if I end up playing Flash games instead, I’ll be lying to them.
2. A place for declarations of intent:
A bit similar to #1, except that instead of jaikuing what you’re doing, you jaiku what you’re going to do. So before going to bed, I can jaiku what tomorrow’s goals are. Even after the intention-muddying effects of sleep, I’ve got a message from my yesterday-self posted up to get me to fulfill promises and plans I’ve made to myself. Again, since they’re posted up for all to see, it’s a bit more effective than writing them on a piece of paper before bed.
3. Logbook for the day to increase efficiency:
Any small observations I might have during the day are archived for future use. By rereading them, I noticed repeating chains of events and causality that I hadn’t been aware of before. For example, I noticed my productivity plummeted on days that I had scheduled appointments between noon and four. Why? Because they break my midday zone thoughtflow. Scanning through my Jaiku log made this obvious.
4. Polite and passive awareness of partner’s plans:
My girlfriend also has a very random work schedule, and I often have no idea when I’ll see her on a particular day, if at all. I can now check her next appointment on her Jaiku stream, see if she’s waiting at the bus stop, or if she’s sent out an update, and know whether or not to expect her for dinner without calling to interrupt her all the time. Also, sometimes when I notice she’s in the same area of town as me during the day, we can meet for impromptu lunch between appointments.
5. Polite and passive awareness of friends’ status:
If I feel like going out somewhere, I can see which of my friends are hanging out at home doing nothing, who’s sleeping, who’s busy, who’s already out, etc. I don’t have to call everybody, I can just call the ones likely to be up for something. I can also check if they’re around the neighborhood.
6. More immediate, deliberate awareness of your own day:
You could do this with a piece of paper, but somehow declaring absolutely what I’m doing at the moment I do it makes me more actively mindful of it. Vaguely like the way Zen monks mindfully do dishes or sweep temple steps. Everything you do is part of how you spend your life, so it’s been kind of interesting to take such deliberate note of everything, and then do that thing fully. At least that’s been a neat minor side effect for now. Before the newness wears off…
• A shoutout function, reserved for actually really BOTHERING all your contacts(“beer, anyone?”)–this could be the only Jaiku that arrives as an SMS, while the rest stay passive.
• Seeing and being able to edit your Overview on your phone, add comments, etc. Apparently this feature is coming, as is a version for Java-enabled phones.
• Privacy layers–my little sister, keeper of the finger on the pulse of the youth nation, is squicked out by the thought of all her friends being able to see where she is all the time, not to mention all the status info she’d like her boyfriend to see. Family would be ok, friends sometimes. For me it would be friends all the time, family in some cases, and work in some cases. Flickr-like privacy groups would let this service expand into the work sector, where it could be REALLY useful.