I have not been sucked into a social networking service like this until I first discovered Digg.com. There is something about Plurk ( Yes, my links to Plurk are invites from me :p ) that has me coming back for more. Following is my review of Plurk along with practical information on how to use Plurk.
And Then There Was Plurk…
According to Enom, the Plurk.com domain name was registered on April 5, 2000 in Canada by Plurk, Inc. It appears as if they launched around four months ago. in a private beta and then launched publicly about a week ago.
Plurk has made it’s way around the blogoshpere quite quickly:
… just to name a few. Take a look at the official Plurk press page.
Looking at their Alexa ranking, it looks like Plurk’s popularity is on the rise.
UPDATE: Amix says, “we use python and own libraries and frameworks“.
The Plurk Team
The Plurk development team (AKA the A-Team) can be found on Plurk, of course. I have personally seen one of the developers, amix, interact directly with Plurkers to the delight of users who have been frustrated with lack of response from Twitter developers.
This blog post gives you some great insight into the thinking of the Plurk team.
Getting Started With Plurk
The sign up process is simple and painless. If you feel I deserve some Plurk love, you will sign up using this link ( If enough of you, my dear readers, sign up through my link, I get a shiny new star, which helps me feel special … shameless spamming complete ). Otherwise, you will use this link ( strongly discouraged ) to sign up.
After you fill out the brief sign up form, I suggest you read through the brief five part welcome message that is automatically displayed.
Next, click edit next to the My Profile link at the upper left hand corner of the screen. Update all the information you feel comfortable with sharing on the General tab.
Click the Picture tab and upload your photo or icon ( I love what Dosh Dosh has to say on creating social media profiles ).
Next, click the Customize profile tab and change your theme to best fit your identity or brand. Here you get a hint of why gaining Karma points is so cool.
If you have a blog, you may want to consider embedding the widget located on the Widget tab. This is especially useful if you spend more time updating Plurk than your blog. You may also want to use the RSS feed link (or the URL) under the Fans section at the lower right.
Close out this window and let’s work on having some Plurk fun!
Inviting Your Friends
Plurk is no fun without friends ( plus, if you invite enough friends you get a shiny star, if that does not convince you, I don’t know what will )! So scroll down a bit and click the Friend invitation button.
Use each of the four tools on this page to invite your friends. I suggest that you only invite friends who you know are likely to try out service.
Don’t have any friends? Maybe you can find some here. I suggest that you begin by following a few interesting Plurkers so you can get a good idea of how Plurk works in its full glory.
Unfortunately, the GMail importer was not working at the time of this writing for me.
Make sure to check the Alerts link up at the top left of the timeline periodically to view and accept friend requests.
Close out this window and lets get to Plurking!
Plurk allows you to post Twitter like messages with embeddable media. Other Plurkers can then comment on your message. There is a number to the right of your message which shows you how many Plurkers have commented on your message. Click the number to view and respond to the comments.
Before you get started, it is helpful to review the official Plurk FAQ.
Say hello to the Plurk world by clicking the red Plurk button next to the pre-filled message that says “saying hello to the Plurk world! :)”. If you want to get fancy with formatting your Plurk messages, check out this resource.
Below the text box is a link that says “How to share YouTube videos and pictures”. Click that link to learn how to embed media into your Plurks.
To the left of the text box is a drop down box which allows you to use different qualifiers. To the right are some emoticons, of which you can gain a larger selection by achieving karma points.
If you want to send a Plurk privately to a friend or keep a Plurk privately to yourself, use the Plurk privacy & options link under the text box to the left. You can also disallow comments through this option.
Note the messages to the lower left of the timeline. These alerts let you know when new Plurks have arrived and when Plurks you are following receive comments. Click on the links to explore.
After you have posted a Plurk, you can edit, delete and create a direct link to that specific Plurk. You can see all these options by clicking on the Plurk in the timeline ( see the delete edit and plurk page links ).
Improving your karma allows you more profile editing options and new emoticons. While silly and not really practically useful, I find this element adds a bit of fun to Plurking.
Click the how to get more karma? link underneath the Stats section below the timeline for information on how to build up your karma points.
Once your timeline starts to fill up, you will want to filter the noise. You can filter by:
- qualifier* – click on the qualifier you want to filter by on the timeline.
- friend – click on a friends name to go to their profile, then use the drop down menu on the lower right of the profile to view only that friend’s Plurks.
- yourself – click on the drop down menu on the lower right and choose to see only your Plurks.
- private Plurks – click on the drop down menu on the lower right and choose to see only private Plurks.
*As of this writing, it looks like this feature may no longer be enabled. I hope this is not the case, as this feature is useful.
Following are some tools that you may find useful in your Plurk adventures:
- Blog Widget – You can find this in your profile settings under the widget tab.
- Firefox Sidebar – Gives you a Twitter-like interface in a sidebar.
- Ping.fm – Allows you send updates to Twitter and Plurk simultaneously as well as other social networking services.
- Karma Trends – This site shows your karma accumulation progress.
- Mobile Plurk – This is a specially formatted version of Plurk for easy viewing on PDAs.
- FriendFeed Tab – This GreaseMonkey script adds a Plurk tab to your FriendFeed page.
Plurk vs. Twitter
Personally, I am now favoring Plurk for the following reasons:
- Interesting interface that makes it easy to hold multiple conversations.
- Filtering system which allows you to group your Plurks in several different ways.
- Fast responsiveness of the system and real time updating.
- The community seems to respond faster and in bigger groups to Plurks.
- So far, the down time I’ve noticed is minimal and when it does happen, the service snaps back quickly.
What I still love about Twitter:
- All of the cool applications built on the Twitter API, such as Twhirl and Jott.
- It’s simplicity.
- The very large user base of interesting people and powerful influencers.
Here are some interesting thoughts from around the blogosphere:
Ideas for Improvement
I have initiated a Digg.com thread so that we can all vote on what ideas should be implemented. I kicked it off with the ideas I think are most important.
Practical Usage of Plurk
Following are some suggestions on how to use Plurk for a practical benefit:
- Public or private micro-journal.
- Ask questions.
- Keep in touch with your contacts and friends.
- Find new friends and contacts.
- Learn from the interesting questions and thoughts from your fellow Plurkers.
What the Plurk? My Thoughts About Plurk
So I was Twittering along one day, when Leo Laporte twitters about this cool new service called Plurk. At first glance, I said “Ack! What a horrible interface!” and quickly ran back to Twitter. But then I started seeing many others sing the praises of Plurk.
That prompted me to take a second look, and then I became hooked. I changed my theme, started delving deeper into the system, and then slowly my Plurk addiction took firm hold. Especially impressive to me was the responsiveness of the community. Now, Twitter just seems boring to me; I guess it’s because I can’t work my way up on Twitter (with Karma) to obtaining a dancing banana emoticon…
If you are already signed up for Plurk, you can follow me here for some Plurkalicious fun! Or you may decide to Plurk your eyes out… YMMV