How to take online presence to a bigger audience 23:53 on Thursday

I’ve said a few words about presence services before, and one point I raised was the problem with Metcalfe’s law: you need a certain critical mass to really enjoy the benefit of presence services.

But for years many of us have already used a simple presence service to signal we’re busy and why we don’t want to be disturbed. It’s called the answering machine.

Phone icons

So here’s an idea to bridge the old to the new: why not create a service that allows you to save and re-use a multitude of different answering machine messages, just like you can save often used status messages in iChat, for example. In the same way as setting your iChat status, you could set your status, or presence on the mobile handset. You could save a message saying “In the morning meeting, free after 10 am” or “I’m off to a blind date, call back after six to save me”. And when you were ready to go to another date, you would set your presence to do not disturb and select the pre-recorded message from the menu.

Jaiku already has a mobile client for setting status. Now add the answering machine feature and you have a bridge for the old school users to move over the new school. And a lot more people able to see (or hear) the status of your users.

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