Reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss meets Tim Burton interface, Plurk gets a big plug from some A-listers and takes off with fans and foes alike.
For those of you that have been watching the web for the past few days, a new social site has gained in popularity thanks to Leo and Scoble called Plurk. Plurk has seemingly begun to step in where Twitter has begun to falter under scalability issues. While it is not without its problems, it seems to offer a richer user interface (UI) along with some nice hooks, like Karma (discussed a little later).
Where did the name Plurk come from you ask? Well, akan from the Plurk Blog had this to say:
Plurk. Yuck. Sounds so muck like pork. or bork. We understand thereâ€™s sort of a love-hate thing going on with our name. Itâ€™s understandable but weâ€™d like to give you some colour on whatâ€™s behind the name so you are not as quick to brush it off.
- Plurk as stalkerati central: People + Lurk= Plurk
- Plurk as an amalgam of Play + Work: Play-Work. Plurk is what scientists do. It is the enthusiastic, energetic application of oneself to the task at hand as a child excitedly plays; it is the intense arduous, meticulous work of an artist on their life-long masterpiece; it is joyful work. (credit)
- Plurk as acronym: Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, Karma
- Verb potential: â€œOh I googled this â€“> Oh I plurked itâ€ Easy enough to wrap around in any form. Plurked, plurking, plurkers, plurks. Little p, big P, itâ€™s catchy, snippy and sweet.
So next time you say Plurk, donâ€™t say ewww, but chew on it for a little longer and have a happy day (at work, plurking the day away!).
Plurk is organized in a timeline format and threaded comments, or Plurks. Twitter, however is organized in a sequential format and only provides a first-in-first-out (FIFO) format for messages. The “river” allows you to scroll through a time line of conversations and expand each thread to view other “plurkers” comments.
What is interesting about the posts is that they are comprised of several key components:
Avatar – A picture to add some flavor and a nice way to filter only your posts in the timeline.
Handle – A link to your bio
Action Verb – A verb that allows you to express a little more emotion (e.g. Changeforge “is”, “thinks”, “loves”).
Message – The message in 140 characters or less
Number of responses – indicates you haveÂ responses – or people replurking to your plurk.
Lastly, you get friendly reminders about updates and the ability to filter on all plurks or just responses, or just your plurks.
The Stats & Karma:
There are the normal stats like number of plurks, responses, and join date. However, the creators of Plurk are definitely geared towards spreading the word as indicated by some other stats like friends invited and profile views.
Also the makers of Plurk have added a fun game outside of the normal accumulation of friends, called Karma. Karma is achieved through various acts like number of referrals and overall activity. The exact calculation hasn’t been cracked just yet, which is probably best.
However, you can even subscribe to a robot that tracks your Karma and ranks you against other Plurkers. Beware, you can actually loose Karma as well, adding an element of slight risk to the mix.
Is Plurk a Twitter knock-off?
Well, let’s see, there is the fact that you can’t type in more than 140 characters, and an input screen that is very similar in nature. You have friends that you follow and that can follow you.
You will have to be the judge. Many Twitter fans accuse Plurk of being a knock-off of Twitter geared towards 14-year old Neopets. This might very well be true. Some feel the interface is great, and some feel it gets in the way.
Plurker currently offers IM integration with a few clients like Yahoo! and Google Talk, and has a mobile version that seems to be a bit spotty at times. However, the real power for Plurker will come in its integrations. If it cannot cross the chasm to offer users more ways to interact with the community and find information in the fashion they choose, it will quickly loose steam and/or never reach the critical mass that now seems to plague Twitter.
What I can say is there is a great amount of potential. With the influx of traffic, the Plurker team had a tough time with scaling, but made some quick adjustments and seemed to get back on track.
But what I think I like most about Plurker so far is the simple and raw fact that the community is so much nicer. Twitter seems to be plagued with A-listing egos and has meandered into a bloggers billboard for their latest blog. I use it for that too, don’t get me wrong, but there doesn’t seem to be the inquisitive substance I had hoped for many months ago when I started.
With Plurker, people seem to be genuinely interested in discovering each other and about each other some some degree. It has not become the stomping ground for the “ego’s” afoot to discuss why they like FriendFeed or Twitter – ad nauseum. It is a place to ask simple questions and get fun answers.
Plainly put – Plurk is not Twitter. Plurk is not revolutionary. Plurk is fun.
Where does this road lead?
If you liked this post, you might also want to read how my adventure in Plurk turned out.
Ken Stewartâ€™s blog,Â ChangeForge.com,Â focuses on the collision between the constantly changing worlds of business and technology. KenÂ is also the Director of Technology at Kearns Business Solutions.