The lifestream and micro-blogging trend continues with another entry into the fray. This one with the strangest name yet. “Plurk”
It’s not often that I catch one of those viral things on the web that goes massive in a short period of time. This time, however I’ve been sort of watching it happen. I registered an account and added some friends to find out if all the talk was warranted. I’m not ready to jump off the SS Twitter but I’m curious to see where this alternative platform goes and what it has to offer.
So the questions on my mind are these:
- What on earth is a Plurk? –
The Plurk blog has posted more about the name. If anyone can tell me what they are talking about I’ll give you a gold star.
- What’s up with that unfortunate beheaded dog/dinosaur/whatisthatanyway image?
It turns out that you are not limited to the disturbing image, here is another one that a newbie can choose(other image options become available if you keep talking, see explanation of Karma below.) I wonder why the default image needs to be so unappealing.
- Does the world really need yet another micro-blogging platform?
I’m Inclined to say NO, it does not.
- What makes Plurk different from Twitter?
The reading experience is extremely different and there are a few very unique aspects.
- You are shown your messages in a timeline instead of a list
- replies are threaded and attached to posts, this is the one thing that Plurk has over Twitter.
- The web interface is slick.
- Some incentive to keep talking. I don’t know how much it will really matter to most people but you are given “Karma” points based on a variety of factors including uploading an image, using IM, posting, and replying. The reward for high Karma rating is the ability to choose a different screen image(remember the beheaded dog?) and also to access more emoticons.
- The character limit is the same however, you don’t use up valuable characters by entering @username and you can begin a post with a selection from a list of action words that don’t count in the 140 character limit
- Would anyone have paid attention to Plurk if Twitter had not experienced so many serious issues over the past few weeks?
Twitter has certainly had it’s share of problems, especially in the last couple of weeks. I asked around and it seems that Plurk started back in January(correct me if that is bad information) I first heard of it maybe a week ago. In the past 24-48 hours there has been an massive increase in talk about this service. In fact, according to my searches at Summize and TweetScan the term Plurk is the most highly searched term at the moment. Earlier today I did a search at Summize and found that it took only 15 hours to fill 100 pages of posts with that term in them. At 15 posts per page for a total of that’s a lot of tweets about a competing product. I’m guessing that the search misses many tweets that have just a “I’m trying this new site” posts that don’t mention it by name and have a shortened URL.
The Timeline View
Other thought on the site:
- The site apparently feels that they have some obligation to suggest how to use the site with a List of “rules”
- I don’t know if it would be feasible to follow a large number of people in Plurk, it continually reminds you of how many postings you have missed. Twitter makes it easier to be selective in what you pay attention to by scanning rather than being deeply involved in every thread of discussion.
- You must interact with the screen to see what people are saying. The timeline let’s you know whne you have new entries in your timeline but you must click to refresh and then click into the posts to see more than a teaser of the original post, the number of replies are displayed but you must click into a message to view them. This is setup, no doubt to limit the amount of clutter.
- Plurk has a very slick web interface. I don’t know how extensible it will be. It will be interesting to see if an API will be released and what might be accomplished from there via 3rd party applications and services. Plurk definitely has more of a stand alone feel to it.
- I don’t see Plurk having the same networking appeal as Twitter.