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Tweeter or Plurk? That is the Question

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

If I had the option of plurking versus tweeting I would. If I had said those words when I was growing up I truly would have had a bar of soap in my mouth. But today I can say them with a straight face and mean it. Plurk is a microblogging platform just like Twitter - some may say even better than Twitter.

Plurk has some major advantages over Twitter – most notably cool innovative features without needing to use add-on programs. Unfortunately it also has two big disadvantages – not as many people plurk and because not many people plurk the capacity, which has been killing Twitter, is essentially untested. Now should Twitter continue to falter – I hope more folks will look at Plurk. So let me tell you why I like Plurk.

The timeline
Instead of Twitter’s vertical list, plurks appear on a horizontal timeline. You can scroll through the timeline (right and left) and you will see the dates change and when scrolling over a plurk you’ll see exactly when it was posted. I can visualize the timing of when the updates were made in the horizontal format much easier than Twitter’s top down vertical approach. New responses or updates are indicated by a small status window in the bottom left to make them very visible to you.

In fact, you don’t ever have to leave your own Plurk page if you don’t want to. The timeline will notify you when new plurks arrive and with a click, your timeline is redirected to those updates.  Similar to the approach of an RSS feed,  you can mark new updates as “read.”

Karma and Badges
Given my personal style of limited microblogging, Karma sucks for me. But, I think it is good for the system. On Twitter you have no incentive to maintain regular updates. Karma changes that as you gain Karma with regular updates and popularity (please have mercy and do not tell Ashton or CNN about this).  You lose Karma if you don’t update regularly or when you lose followers.  With regular updates, responses to your plurks and many followers your Karma will rise up to 100. With higher Karma you will perks like the ability to change your Plurk creature or access exclusive emoticons.  Maybe I would plurk more often to get a cool creature.

Badges operate quite similar but are based on milestones like inviting more than 25 people or getting more than 100 followers.

Integration of Pictures and Videos
Along with the timeline I love the integration. Plurk recognizes links to YouTube, Flickr, TinyPic, ImageShack, and Photobucket and includes them in your update. That means you don’t have to open a new window to view links like you have to do in Twitter. You just click on the plurk and the link is shown right on top of the timeline.

Status Updates to Other Services
Plurk, being the little guy, has to try harder and offers status updates for Twitter, Friendster and Facebook. That way you can stay in touch with all of your friends on other sites without having to make individual updates to each of these. BUT, and that would be a BIG BUT, the integration is only one way. So you can’t see anybody’s Twitter updates on Plurk. Let’s be honest – if you were Twitter would you add that feature?

The bottom line is I like Plurk. I like their quirky sense of humor and I like all the features they keep adding. I hope Twitter casts an eye towards their features. They have even be banned by China - is that a sign of impending success?

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