special summer holiday treat :transitional web apps definition (part 1)


The transitional web applications has graduately evolved from web 2.0 and are a good number of examples where the actual application transides back into “real life” either via a peripheral device ( such as a mobile phone, photoframe, a toy, a card) – where you are still taking a part of the webcommunity with you, when you’re not physically “in front of the computer”.

definition of a transitional web application

the transitional web applications has three factors in common:

1. they are transiding away from the web

2. they have a community build around them

3. they enable and support conversations

the actual transition

the transition of the different web applications can be divided into:

– transition to a peripheral device to support a community online (such as “cool usercustomized gimmicks”)

– transition of the actual community (to 2nd life, mobile phones to show presence and be present to your community)

– transition to further develop the web community (getting into 2nd life)

– backwards transition – from “real life” to the web in support of a peripheral installation (a nabaztag, a pleo)

(the poster is made by thomas.jaiku.com)

the web is not enough – a recap of reboot9

Reboot 9 was different. The structuring of the conference was something near anarchy. I had a blast. I met the people I always want to meet.

But did I learn anything significant ? yes. I was confirmed in my solid belief nowadays that the communities are starting to move to peripheral devices. That my hunches about transitional web apps are real interesting to a lot of european conference goers. There was a lot of talks about mobile and ways to integrate the web into the first life ( my very favorite presentation was “Online Symbols in the offline world” by Aram Bartholl … and evolved a lot of playing and a lot of fun.

For some strange reason it seems like people are going back to privacy in combination with being a part of a community. .

Are we getting tired of sharing ? – hardly.

We are just being overcrowded by all these applications that wants our devotion and a cool userbase. Which in it’s essence is okay – but it also means that the communities where the ” what’s in it for me, or what’s the point” like linkedin fx. are going to have a hard time to keep it’s momentum with the crowd. Communities that are too static better figure out how to transide right now!
Actually it occured to me that moo cards are a part of flickr transiting.

the most interesting talks at reboot where about getting back to 1st life in every way – by using peripheral devices mostly.

Anyway I don’t think the web is enough anymore.

Also my experience with jaiku as a backchannel was mindblowing. I know I was one of the assigned commentators but anyway – it worked better than really well…

I have teamed up with my best friend ( who is a killer cupcake maker) and have her make 100 jaiku cupcakes – which was awesome and a big succes…

The Jaiku backchannel ended up in a BBC article about reboot – rock on! – and they even made me a poster girl (together with Peter Rukavina and Dannie Jost !


it’s not really within any subject – but today I was headhuntet for a job at… my competitors!

Even though I would claim that I am overqualified I wouldn’t even get to the interview.

Ohh and this quote has been twisting and turning in my head for the last couple of days:

We are going to be known as the generation who was having a teaparty close to a natural disaster, and all we had in our minds was and if the table cloth was a damask”.
Carsten Jensen, “Information” last saturday…

I am talking about transitional web apps at mobile 2.0 on thursday at FDIH together with Karin Høgh and Morten Bay.

DO show up, it’s going to be a blast!

“Me” and “you” in a transitional web app

a wise man at lift07 told me that if you’re building a web app you should make it all about “me” – to make it social and succesful.

I agree, but I would like to add that if you make an addition to “me” and make the web app a bit “you” as well, – it will get you further.

Allan Jenkins asked me a question in a comment in my last post :

“What do you mean about all about me, it’s also about you as well” – here’s my explanation:

“All about me, it’s also about you as well” means that when twitter is very individual focused (I’m stating that I am doing something – and the community is created out of your personal statements), Jaiku is about you as well ( you can state away on jaiku as well, but people can comment on your statements directly, as well as comment on every other thing coming into any kind of RSS you have defined in Jaiku).

This results in, the community is not only involving you – but because of the ability to comment, to everything you define in there – you involve the other person as well ( or the you).

So on Jaiku people are commenting on my del.icio.us links, my last.fm account, my statements and my blog it makes it a much fuller experience

and it makes twitter look incredibly dull and boring. Jaiku is twitter on steroids !

The commenting has the potential to make every incoming “jaiku (no matter if it’s from your blog or from ma.gnolia) into a conversation in itself ( see this : http://jyri.jaiku.com/presence/779566 as an example).

So one of the key factors of Jaiku would be involvement – which makes the you central, as well as the me in Jaiku.

This is also how we will see the web apps being build in the future : with focus on “me” – but with “you” on the side as well.

The “you” effect and involvement doesn’t come automatically – you have to work on that consistently.

As far as twitter vs jaiku goes

As far as the twitter vs Jaiku goes – I don’t believe that these two applications are even close to competing. why ?


Twitter vs jaiku in details

Twitter is only dealing with statements where Jaiku is getting more and more richer in the approach to become the biggest “presence” transitional web app around.
The community on Jaiku is so much better – because in addition to be all about “me”, it’s also about “you” as well.

I would even go as far as claiming that Twitter is getting more irrelevant by the minute. The key feature to twitter is a cool proces, that Jaiku has implemented so well in it’s web and mobile app which makes it the best transitional community around.

The edges of (some) transitional web apps


For a while now I have been researching transitional web apps and how they are evolving. I have also done some thinking about what is missing in transitional web apps and how they are different from one another.

the edges of transitional web apps

what’s missing in transitional web apps

I did this drawing to explain the difference between some of the different mobile transitional web apps ( btw. it says twitter in the bottom right corner)

I have decided not to add nabaztag or chumby this time around…

first of all, I will like to explain the different words I have been using –


is all your activities to show your presence, a mash up of different feeds to show your path, both online but also in 1st life.


is the “me first” when you are doing something active to be a part of a community.

so what’s the difference ?

I have chosen to put Plazes and Imity in the lower left corner of the drawing, because of their very specific way of dealing with presence. Basically both are showing your location and the people around you. Imity is furthermore showing people that aren’t on you buddies list by finding all bluetooth devices in the area. So they are showing a part of your presence but they are both more applicable in 1st life and via mobile than online…

Twitter I would call somewhat egocentric, because it evolves around yourself and the statements you want to make to the world. I am on the edge to call it “impulsive personal outbursts”. hell people are even twittering about twitter ( ohh dear… reminds me of those people who used to – or are still blogging about blogging)
At the same time it’s so giving to be able to read what people are doing and stating everyday on an impulsive basis in addition to reading their blogs. Twitter however, in my opinion, doesn’t scale right now… not technically or community wise..

Jaiku is combining the different tools of presence ( mostly via RSS) it’s shows people from a context point of view by adding up your activitiesMoreover on the website you can comment on the different presences ( you can even comment on bookmarks). So as far as I see Jaiku and Twitter are becoming two very different things. Jaiku is different from blogging because everything is happening in a community that isn’t personally targeted (comments on blogs are personally targeted) but people can actually not only see your jaiku updates, they can also see who has commented them, and what has been commented – in a public community.

So what’s missing?

I would claim that the primary reason that people aren’t using twitter on their phone is that you recieve somewhere around 300 sms’es each day from twitter – which goes into your sms inbox, which makes you a really annoying person if you don’t have your phone on silent. If you have your phone on silent, you might miss important phonecalls. So I would say that most people are deciding not to use twitter mobile.

If I was an transitional web app my next step would be an “mirror” inbox – receiving updates ( not sms’es) ( either presence updates or statements) and putting it all out on mobile – no matter if it was direct statements, presence updates from del.icio.us and last.fm…

For me that would be a step in the right direction to stay in touch with my community mobilewise. – so as far as I am concerned THAT’s what’s missing right now – a presence mirror defined by contacts and what presence they want to put out there.

oh and I definetly should be able to comment on presences on the mobile too…

If others start to declare web 2.0 dead

So, I declared web 2.0 dead after lift07 because it wasn’t what people talked about anymore – In my blogreader today, the ever genious Stowe Boyd is writing about the same thing

wonderful – now I am getting in the arena to claim that I declared it dead first … or something like that..

now the race for the transitional web apps starts – especially because it looks like the VC’s are spotting this too

Sustainable transitional web apps for the future

Ben Metcalfe wrote in a twitter a couple of weeks ago that “the way that twitter currently works doesn’t scale”. I think that’s my problem too. twitter doesn’t scale, not technically and not as a mobile community either. solely on web – it’s great – but I want the twitter messages on my phone without having to have my phone on mute because I recieve around 300 messages from twitter a day. is there a way to make twitter more sustainable ? my heart belongs to Jaiku these days – largely because of their new design -because as a webbased community – it’s absolutely stunning for conversation… it has everything “me” just because of the total rss feed integration. it’s simple, functional and impulsive. I lack the mobile integration though because my lovely nokia n70 can’t really cope with the jaiku mobile beta. so is there a way to make a community on web/mobile that doesn’t evolve sms’es but has the community of twitter and “me” because of the rss feed integration ? I have proposed a talk on transitional web apps for reboot 9 – would a talk about these apps be interesting?

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