I’ve joined Plurk today, to add to the growing number of social networking sites that I’m present on.
WikiAnswers defines Plurk as:
“Plurk at the core is a micro-blogging site that allows users to post short messages similar to instant messaging, but charts the messages based on a time-line. The format is becoming increasingly popular with sites like Twitter and FriendFeed becoming more mainstream.”
The format is very similar to Twitter. You have 140 characters to tell the world about what you’re doing, share a link, or a video, and broadcast your life online.
The differences lie in Plurk’s ‘Karma’ system, and ‘Friend Status’.
How Plurk Works
Now, I don’t fully understand how the Karma system works yet, but I assume that it’s another way of boosting your Plurk profile, and your online status.
Every plurker has his/her own karma value. It is recalculated every day and falls within these intervals:
- 0.00 to 21.00: You are in the state of creation
- 21.00 to 41.00: You are in the state of maintenance
- 41.00 to 61.00: You are enlightened
- 61.00 to 81.00: You are so close to Plurk Nirvana
- 81.00 to 100.00: You have reached Plurk Nirvana!
Your karma score is directly influenced by you and your friends Plurk activity. The more active you are, the more points you’ll get. Using various features of Plurk such as instant messaging or uploading a profile image will also help.
The more you and your friends use Plurk, the more karma points you get.
Karma points then give you access to little emotion icons that are found in popular chat programs such as AIM, or MSN Messenger.
A friend is essentially another word for your fan; basically a two-way connection with someone. A good thing about Plurk is that you can organize your friends into ‘cliques’, or groups.
You can also control which “cliques” can see your messages. This is a feature that many people want twitter to add, Plurk has definitely pipped them to the post.
The time line view on Plurk is also unique, and very aesthetically appealing. It’s a horizontal time line that you can drag around with your mouse to see the different online conversations in real time. It’s very easy to use and get to grips with.
Is it making money?
Jeff Raskin makes a very valid point about Plurk. Raskin believes that ‘Plurk is trying to follow in the twitter footsteps, that is, get as many users as you can, and then worry about the revenue model’ – which does appear to be true, as there aren’t any advertising or premium features on Plurk.
Raskin belives that Plurk isn’t making any money, and as such, Plurk could just be one of ‘several twitter copycats that are going to be springing up all over the place’.
Twitter is quite clearly, leading the micro-blogging world, and any competitor is going to have a tough time tapping into the market.
My life is on the line
In my opinion, I like the interface, but that’s pretty much about it. The Karma system is what separates it from Twitter and other microblogging websites, and this could also be the source of its biggest downfall.
It’s easy enough to sign up to the website but after that, its like being thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool and being left to yourself.
The theme editing features are quite cool, but all they do is make it look nice. The way it bunches conversations together is interesting, you can semi-organise your timeline. I think combining some features of Plurk with FriendFeed might address some of the aesthetic issues that FriendFeed has – I think FriendFeed is a little too ‘messy’.
Seems to me like Plurk is like having a new toy, it’s nice and shiny when you first get it, and the excitement is apparent, but eventually you’re going to forget about it. The stunning thing about it is that it has been live since January, and in the wake of the recent Twitter issues, has come to the forefront. However, Plurk has been known to go down quite a lot recently too.
If Plurk was to take advantage of Twitter’s ‘growing pains’ – then going down doesn’t give a positive appearance to its consumers. Plurk is clearly quite small-scale for now, but it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping my eye on for now.
Plurk – The New Twitter? Not just yet.