After using both closely, the comparison to Twitter shouldn’t even be the case. Plurk and Twitter are two entirely different beasts. Personally, I don’t even see the need to compare the two at all. The only similarity is a 140 character limit for posts — so Plurk is essentially a microblogging platform. But Plurk is a lot more, and Twitter still has its place.
Plurk: Real Nested Conversations Brought to the Microblogging Platform
A few days ago, I noticed via Twitter search tool Summize that Aaron Brazell had been talking about me on his Twitter stream. Normally, when I catch onto such a discussion, I navigate to the person’s particular Tweet and try to find the context of the message. In Aaron’s case, it was a lengthy dialogue with another Twitter user that I couldn’t exactly figure out, so I direct messaged him for clarification. There was no easy way for me to follow the conversation easily, and as much as I tried to read and understand everything in the Twitter timeline, I couldn’t understand the ongoing discussion. Even Quotably didn’t prove to be much help.
This is where Plurk would have totally rocked the house.
Do Plurk and Twitter really need to be compared?
When it comes to a basis of comparison, nested conversations are probably the only aspect of Plurk that has brought it much success (save for the lack of downtime, though it does suffer some quirks here and there). On the other hand, Plurk is really new, and thus, Twitter wins on followers (and the fact that mobile access — via SMS — totally owns), so the Plurk discussions (for now) are at a minimum. For what it’s worth, though, I have 10% the number of followers (already) on Plurk compared to followers on Twitter, which is a huge number considering that I’ve been a Plurk member for only 3 weeks.
Twitter and Plurk Behaviors: not the same (at least not for me)
The thing I like about Plurk is that I can be completely and entirely random; at this point, it doesn’t matter. I feel that my Twitter usage is drastically different. In a nutshell, I focus on Twitter for mostly professional discussion (sharing social media news and information), whereas Plurk is a less rigid platform and feels a lot less formal to me. If you want to see two entirely different sides of Tamar Weinberg, go to Plurk now and compare it to my Twitter stream.
But is there much more to Plurking?
The downside about Plurk is, well, there’s not much appeal besides wasting more valuable time online (otherwise known as plurkrastination, which I’m proud to admit that I coined!). I think this may be partially in part due to the time-line layout (it’s not very organized, though the design is entirely understandable). It’s a lot noisier without risk factors involved: it’s harder to really follow every single Plurk from a person, whereas in Twitter, you can read everything in one page (as you can see, I’ve primarily exercised caution with my Tweets). I’ve yet to see people admit that Plurk is a beneficial tool, as most are aiming for karma, which are points that are provided to users for participation, and they admit that Plurk is a time suck. Perhaps, however, I haven’t seen it all yet. When Twitter first came out, its earliest adopters weren’t entirely sure about the fate of the microblogging service either. With that in mind, Plurk probably still has a lot going for it that many of us have yet to discover.
What are we arguing about again?
Is the debate really “Twitter vs. Plurk?” For me, you can clearly tell that I use both for different purposes (with a tiny bit of overlap), though some are already considering canceling their Twitter accounts. I say: wait until Plurk gets better and keep waiting for Twitter to fix its scaling issues. Then, everyone will go to his/her respective home(s) on the web. You may have more than one.
After using both Plurk and Twitter pretty heavily, I’ve come to the conclusion that Plurk is best at its features for community-building, whereas Twitter succeeds more with its interface that bolsters information-sharing. Plurk is a good site for nonsensical ramblings primarily because it’s harder to keep tabs on people and users admittedly flock to Plurk because there’s “less thinking” involved.
Therefore, I suppose the nested conversations and time-line layout make complete sense. Both of these features continue to support my argument that Twitter is not Plurk, nor is Plurk a new Twitter. They both have their places in the web 2.0 and social media sphere. You may find yourself comfortable using just one or both. But it’s only fair for you to give a chance to both services to see which one fits you best.