Is Plurk a Twitter-Killer?

[Updated with screencast.] If you’ve spent any time on Twitter lately (via Twhirl or any other client), you know that the service has been having growing pains. There is Pownce as an alternative, but for some unexplainable reason, it doesn’t appeal to me. Twitter seems “better” b/c of the well-utilized API and all the desktop/ browser clients. But what do you do if Twitter goes down? Or if the Twitter clients are not showing updates for 20-30 minutes, despite your setting of 3 minutes?

I’m not talking jumping ship, but there is Plurk – something numerous Twitterers have tweeted about. Maki of noted on Twitter that Plurk seems more friendly. Consider that as of this writing, he’s following over 900 people and has nearly 3800 followers. Yet, he says that he doesn’t get many responses on Twitter when he asks questions.

When I’m on Twitter, sometimes it does feel like a lot of people talking to themselves. However, I happen to have a number of Performancing Hive mates on Twitter, and often have short conversations with them, as well as with a few non-Hive twitterers. Still, Plurk’s threaded messages interface encourages response. So, probably, does the assignment of “karma” points, which you can acquire in a number of ways. And who doesn’t want to become a “top 10” member on a new social site? What’s more, you can set up “cliques” if you like.

In less than 12 hours, I’ve gained over 40 friends (some added me first) and 14.71 karma points – whatever that means. I also love the timeline view and the fact that you can very easily embed YouTube video or images from TinyPic, ImageShack, Flickr or Photobucket.

The only drawbacks I see for my continued use of Plurk (but not as a replacement to Twitter) are:

  1. No way to only see threaded responses for the Plurks you commented on only. It gets overwhelming to see “145 new responses”, or something of that sort, every few minutes – even when you cleared them all seconds ago.
  2. No API yet, so no alternate clients for Plurk msg consumption.
  3. Hangs my FF browser multiple times, but only I when I try to view “Alerts”. Not always, but when it happens, it’s because of that link. This could be due to some conflicting FF extension, but it’s annoying.
  4. It’s starting to hiccup already, at least as far as my Internet connection suggests.
  5. Is a huge time-waster, though that might be because I’m just getting used to it and spending way too much time. Still, a Twhirl-like desktop client might help in that regard – if they can figure out an ergonomic way to display threaded “responses”.

If you want a quick comparison, see LiveCrunch’s Plurk vs Twitter post. Also see Muhammad Saleem’s guest post about Plurk at Read/Write Web for a more indepth look. Muhammad thinks Plurk will be the next big lifestreaming service. I think that an API will make the difference.

4 thoughts on “Is Plurk a Twitter-Killer?

  1. Like with Twitter ā€“ the IM component was nice on plurk ā€“ while it lasted. A sudden influx of new users seems to have pretty much killed this off.

    personally, iā€™d like to be able to have plurk and twitter posts reflect one another.

  2. Like with Twitter – the IM component was nice on plurk – while it lasted. A sudden influx of new users seems to have pretty much killed this off.

    personally, i’d like to be able to have plurk and twitter posts reflect one another.

  3. (I’m going to put aside all the technical issues Twitter’s had for this.)

    If Twitter could add a conversational feature like the one on plurk, then Twitter could win out. Plurk is kinda cool (sort of a cross between whack-a-mole meets Space Invaders) but I think it fosters ADHD and I think users will tire of it unless Plurk makes some of the tweaks you suggested.

    Also I think a usable Twitter feature would be is if I could zoom-in on either one or a customized group of people I follow, be able to keep a threadable conversation on a particular tweet and then be able to zoom back to all of my feeds, then Twitter could really be a social medium monster. It would make it more pliant, more focused and probably more useful in the long run.

    As time goes on, my Twitter is going to be more ravenous on my time than my feed reader. But having the ability to scale down who I follow selectively and instantly would really boost Twitter’s position.

    But that’s too much to ask for right now, no? Any thoughts?

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