Twitter versus Plurk: Not Even in the Same League

Earlier this month, Plurk was discovered and has had social media addicts abuzz with the “new Twitter clone,” especially as a result of Twitter downtime.

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 Main Screen

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.

84 Comments

  • Wil Reynolds says:

    Tamar, the hard part is defining what kind of update goes on which site? I don’t have the time to update both, and I’d rather just do that. Thanks for laying out the two sides.

  • Chris says:

    I agree 100% with you on this post. I think plurk is more for networking and twitter more for tweeting news/events/links. If you want a more close knit type of social media, plurk, hands down.

  • Wil, tools like ping.fm might help you with updating both. My personal take is that Twitter and Plurk are different — I use both very differently — but you could still merge the two if you wanted using the aforementioned service. :)

  • Chris Bartow says:

    Just like kids, do you pick favorites? Yes, this one is better.

  • Mark Dykeman says:

    I haven’t Plurked nearly as much as some other folks, but it certainly seems to be a more lighthearted, chatty atmosphere than other services. Twitter, to me, remains a broadcasting medium that isn’t ideal for conversations.

    Oh, and… FriendFeed. ;-)

  • I’m not sure I’ve settled on a “favorite.” It depends on what I’m trying to accomplish.

    I am starting to use Plurk more with the mobile interface, though it isn’t 100%. I use my Brightkite account and post pictures to my Twitter stream, but I see Plurk more as a leisure tool and Twitter as more of a professional tool.

  • tigertwo says:

    You’ve spelled it out really clearly, thank you for this. I agree – I have noticed Twitter getting more and more business-like and the silly, water-cooler conversations occurring over on Plurk. That also makes it a lot easier when you are choosing which followers to follow back on Twitter.

    I think this is great advice for all social media sites. Use each site for a specific purpose (which will have its inevitable crossover, of course). That also helps a little with avoiding business contacts being subjected to your messy weekend photos!

  • Content Writer says:

    Clique Power
    I think that the Plurk power is coming through the Cliques feature in Plurk. http://www.plurk.com/user/theGypsy fore example uses cliques to collectively create a more selective audience to hold a dialogue with. I think that the conversation threads in Plurk hold a bit more dialogue worth..with a bunch of nonsense mixed in. It is frustrating, because it seems that the nonsense plurks get more itneraction that serious topics… Maybe it’s the interface, maybe it’s the visual nature of the the plurk beast…

  • veronicaromm says:

    I never enjoyed twitter and I tried twice. Then I found a friend was spending all his time on Plurk and finally I decided to try it. At first it took time to figure out what was happening there, but now having used it for a week it is so much more fun than twiiter and if I or a friend posts a blog post of mine, I get a great deal of hits and comments from Plurkers. For me it is very easy to say that Plurk is a new favorite. Great topic, thanks .veronica

  • Great comparison and rundown. I’ll agree with you that right now it appears that Plurk is more an off-topic leisurely conversation, though I think that as more people start logging on and getting used to its interface, I think conversations will shape up very differently.

    There will be some who still use it to Plurk about each event during their day, but there will also be those that use it just like Twitter, for business and networking efforts, but now they’ll have the added benefit of a dedicated replies page, making it easier to manage the conversation.

    Again, great post.

  • steaprok says:

    Fantastic analysis of Plurk and Twitter. I agree wholeheartedly that they are quite different beasts. I have been spending more time on Plurk for various reasons #1 Twitter downtime #2 I have had more conversation and met a wider variety of people in the month Ive been using Plurk, than the time I used Twitter.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still like Twitter, but its just gotten so frustrating to have to use summize, or any of the other apps just to have a conversation. That defeats the whole purpose, I think.

    I have also been using ping.fm A LOT to post, but at the end of the day, I feel unfulfilled by the experience becuase I cant track the responses or the conversations. Which sux!

  • Steaprok, that’s a good point and something I plurked about this morning. It’s so true! It’s useful in concept, but it needs to be executed a little better to be useful beyond the first click.

  • Mike Wilton says:

    Awesome post Tamar. It’s funny because I have done a number of Twitter vs Plurk posts weighing the pros and cons of each, but I think you have it pinned. They are simply two different kinds of social beasts that should not be compared. Much like yourself I use each service for a different purpose.

  • Spinfield says:

    I am in the same boat as veronicaromm, I have tried Twitter and just could not get into it, but found Plurk and really enjoy it. I definitely prefer the networking environment of Plurk to the to broadcasting environment of Twitter. Great post.

  • Dr. Pete says:

    Thanks for the run-down, Tamar; with all of Twitter’s outages, I’ve been really tempted to look for options. I hate to start over building the network, though, especially since it’s very likely that Plurk will have the same scaling problems. The simple fact remains that Twitter is taking a pounding on traffic and spam, raking up more and more costs with no revenue model. Once Plurk starts building up traffic, it may have the same problem. Someone’s got to find a way to provide these tools and make a living doing it.

  • People don’t like responding to me on Twitter, DAMN IT! I HEART PLURK.

  • Joe Hunkins says:

    Nice post Tamar –

    I have yet to get the hang of plurking and really don’t have time for both. Twitter seems to remain the more professional sort of hangout so unless that changes I’ll probably need to leave Plurk to your *Plurkrastinators*

    Great term coinage there!

  • David says:

    Well, I think I might have posted on Plurk a bit before the Mashable guys, but nevertheless an interesting article.

  • David: I hope I didn’t imply that Mashable discovered it. In the article I linked to, it says that Plurk was discovered by Inquisitr, which is why I referred to it. After all, the full disclosure is that I am the community and marketing director of Mashable.

  • David says:

    Tamar: All’s well with me. To tell the truth, I’m not sure I care who gets the credit, heh.

  • Brent Jones says:

    Twitter = 1 dimension
    Plurk = 2 dimensions
    Plurk with IRC like IM = 3 dimensions
    also needed are historical search and data mining
    (and I am not joking on this) someday the cultural anthropologists will be analyzing social behavior and without a historical mine of ASCII remarks they will falter.

  • I love Plurk. I still use Twitter to follow those who are not on Plurk. Sooner or later, people will stop drop Twitter in to hell.

    Great post!

  • Shane Floyd says:

    I had only been a twitter user for a few months when I discovered plurk in early June. I immediately noticed the difference in community at plurk. Plurk is a more laid back platform, and promotes conversation much better than twitter.It is rare to plurk something and not get a response within a few minutes, whereas on twitter replies may never come. I am not going to cancel my twitter account by no means, but plurk will get the most attention.

  • TheJennie says:

    Well, I’ve more or less abandoned Twitter for Jaiku, but I (literally) Digg your anti comparison =)

  • I agree with you Tamar..^^ Plurk is very far for comparison to Twitter..I have to say the features of Plurk are a lot fun and cute but Twitter is still closer to my heart..I guess because of its simplicity despite its inefficiency, sometimes..^^

  • Simple Mindz says:

    I can’t get use to Plurk. And I hate how I gotta go to the site to use it. I use “Twhirl” for my desktop Twitter – and it just seems easier all around..

  • Ming Yeow says:

    hmmm…. is it just me, or do others find it kinda confusing too? a lot of moving pieces

  • Tamar, thanks for this article. What about using Twitter with FriendFeed? Do you think you get the same community response when folk can comment on your Tweets at FF?

  • Justin, that’s a good point. There’s definitely an element of community there that you don’t see in Twitter itself, but I think the signal to noise ratio is higher due to the fact that it integrates more services (41 at this time) and that Friendfeed is more service-centric rather than community-focused. Therefore, it’s not necessarily a community building tool, per se, because you’re seeing that when I StumbleUpon a site like “10 Ways to Be Productive at 4:30AM” and have this strange ongoing discussion, it’s not the same as when someone shares a personal tidbit on Plurk (“I got stuck on the bus today”) and the community actually responds and sympathizes.

    I’ve written a few articles on Friendfeed — I don’t really lump it with Plurk so much.

    See:
    How Spying On Your Friends Causes Reevaluation of Endorsed Content
    and
    How Friendfeed Can Teach You About Your Friends

  • We keep hearing that Twitter is more for business and plurking is more for more conversational items so maybe the two do have their own place.

  • Eric N. says:

    I really like Plurk… nested comments has been around since blogging became mainstream.

    I liked Plurk so much I made a plugin for wordpress and turned my personal blog into a plurk powered micro-blog.

    :)

  • Scott says:

    HAHA “plurkrastination” great term!

  • quixote says:

    I’m laughing wildly. “Plurk” means something like “scumbag” in Dutch, although not quite as strong as that. I guess they don’t plan on pushing it there much?

  • Quixote: they missed their chance to shine in Holland, I guess.

  • Karl says:

    I don’t know why social sites keep launching, isn’t myspace enough? lol I mean who will join all of them just to have a profile page identical to the others…

    It’s just good for the site owners to make money… rest in my opinion if everyone uses one of them only, like myspace it will be better… you find your friends easier!

  • Karl, you’re not serious, are you?

    It’s called social media marketing, not MySpace marketing.

    Plus, MySpace is not even really relevant to this article. It’s a social site, but we’re talking about microblogging now. I hope your SEO consulting firm recognizes the importance of that too.

  • Simon Hamer says:

    Interesting stuff. Saw this brought up on a Linkedin question, and I’ll put it on ecademy for them to see it also.

  • chat says:

    thank you so much.. i been looking for this solution for such a long time and now i found it.. thank you!!

  • susan blair says:

    I too have tried both platform and believe or not, I’ve gotten more of a response from plurk than any other social media network.

  • chat says:

    thanks for this article. What about using Twitter with FriendFeed? Do you think you get the same community response when folk can comment on

  • chat says:

    I think this is great advice for all social media sites

  • penis says:

    Its just good for the site owners to make money rest in my opinion if everyone uses one of them only, like myspace it will be better you find your friends easier!

  • oyun says:

    Well, Ive more or less abandoned Twitter for Jaiku, but I (literally) Digg your anti comparison =)

  • Twitter is the best IMO

  • Chat says:

    You’ve spelled it out really clearly, thank you for this. I agree – I have noticed Twitter getting more and more business-like and the silly, water-cooler conversations occurring over on Plurk. That also makes it a lot easier when you are choosing which followers to follow back on Twitter.

    I think this is great advice for all social media sites. Use each site for a specific purpose (which will have its inevitable crossover, of course). That also helps a little with avoiding business contacts being subjected to your messy weekend photos!
    chat

  • Jag says:

    Great comparison :)

  • rudeshock says:

    Twitter, Yammer, Plurk. Next thing you know we’ll have Quitter, Spammer and Blurt…

    Anyway, does using Twitter make you a twit?

  • sohbet says:

    I have yet to get the hang of plurking and really don’t have time for both. Twitter seems to remain the more professional sort of hangout so unless that changes I’ll probably need to leave Plurk to your *Plurkrastinators*
    sohbet

    Great term coinage there!

  • Twitter, Yammer, Plurk. Next thing you know we’ll have Quitter, Spammer and Blurt…

  • lig tv izle says:

    I have yet to get the hang of plurking and really don’t have time for both. Twitter seems to remain the more professional sort of hangout so unless that changes I’ll probably need

  • Piska says:

    I like Plurk then Twitter..
    love the commenting system, and emoticon also get karma more higher then i will get more emoticon and became NIRVANA..Yippie..

  • chat says:

    I or a friend posts a blog post of mine, I get a great deal of hits and comments from Plurkers. For me it is very easy to say that Plurk is a new favorite…

  • Sohbetci says:

    Awesome post Tamar. It’s funny because I have done a number of Twitter vs Plurk posts weighing the pros and cons of each, but I think you have it pinned. They are simply two different kinds of social beasts that should not be compared. Much like yourself I use each service for a different purpose.

    [Tamar's note: Thanks Sohbetci--but I had to remove the spam links you added to the end of your comment.]

  • Sohbetci says:

    It’s just good for the site owners to make money… rest in my opinion if everyone uses one of them only, like myspace it will be better… you find your friends easier!

    [editor's note: link removed. It looks like spam. Surely you weren't trying to spam my blog, were you?]

  • It’s really amazing how the competition heats up at the last moments of victory. Plurk is alright, but Twitter holds a east to use database. Twitter all the way no competition hands down.

  • Juno says:

    I just joined Plurk. I have a couple of Twitter accounts–my personal one, which I never use–I find the whole layout too confusing, the symbols, how to search, who/how to follow, and a huge waste of time. I use Twitter as a tool for a class I teach, where my students all log into to the class Twitter account and complete an assignment. It works for that purpose just fine. But PLURK? I LOVE PLURK! It makes sense, it’s easy to navigate, you can find people, groups (cliques), you can search, it’s the hidden secret of microblogging/social networking! I’m thinking of changing my class’s assignment to PLURK, yes, I am!

  • sohbet says:

    Thank you very much where my students all log into to the class Twitter account and complete an assignment. It works for that purpose just fine. But PLURK? I LOVE PLURK! It makes sense, it’s easy to navigate, you can find people, groups (cliques), you can search, it’s the hidden secret of microblogging/social networking! I’m thinking of changing my class’s assignment to PLURK, yes, I am!

  • Thank you very much where my students all log into to the class Twitter account and complete an assignment. It works for that purpose just fine. But PLURK? I LOVE PLURK! It makes sense, it’s easy to navigate, you can find people, groups (cliques), you can search, it’s the hidden secret of microblogging/social networking! I’m thinking of changing my class’s assignment to PLURK, yes, I am!

  • Sohbet says:

    Tamar: All’s well with me. To tell the truth, I’m not sure I care who gets the credit, heh.

    Read more: http://www.techipedia.com/2008/twitter-vs-plurk/#ixzz0sSYRE8bD

  • Ha! Your article cracked me up!
    Thanks for the write!

    I tried Plurk out a few months back and it’s pretty good…
    However, there is only so many hours in a day and I have to focus on what get’s me the most bang for my time. For now it’s down to just Twitter and Facebook as the power houses. I am not sure if another social media will be able to edge their way in. It sure seems as though both Plurk and Buzz have failed.

    Thanks for the article!
    :)

    Editor’s note: Thanks for your comments. However, as stated in my blog policy, I have asked you to use your real name. I do not think your name is “Engine Optimization Software” and have edited your comment and URL as explained in the blog policy. Oh, and I stole your link.

  • Edited says:

    To tell the truth, I’m not sure I care who gets the credit, heh.

    Editor’s note: Thanks for your comments. However, as stated in my blog policy, I have asked you to use your real name. I do not think your name is “chat” and have edited your comment and URL as explained in the blog policy. Oh, and I stole your link.

  • Shauna says:

    I tried Twitter a couple of years ago. Logged in religiously for months, and in the end had exactly 3 followers. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, even after researching the “how to”s of usage, hashtags, etc. I finally realized it was more work than I wanted to invest in a site that wasn’t really doing anything for me that I wasn’t already getting from Facebook.

    I discovered Plurk last winter, and I fell in love. In the same number of months, I’ve amassed a hundred friends and several fans, and, as you said, the community building there is really satisfying. I find the timeline setup of Plurk easier to navigate, and the ability to use emoticons/links/pics as conversational tools makes it a an even more creative space than Facebook (and without all the interface headaches you get over there). For me, Plurk is a win.

Comments are closed.