Plurk – Ooooooh Another Shiny New Twitter-Like Thing!

Twitter (when it’s up) has been lighting up today with talk of yet another shiny new toy for people to play with – Plurk.

Plurk?

Yes, you read it right – Plurk.

Plurk describes itself as:

A really snazzy site that allows you to showcase the events that make up your life, and follow the events of the people that matter to you, in deliciously digestible short messages called plurks.

My first impression – Plurk is a bit like Twitter with a little FriendFeed thrown in for good measure.

Messages have the same 140-character maximum as Twitter’s but on Plurk, unlike on Twitter, you can reply directly to other peoples’ messages (I refuse to call them “plurks”). You can also add extra bells and whistles to your messages like smileys, and there’s a Facebook-style “Dave is…” intro to posts which you can modify to things like “Dave loves…,” “Dave shares…” and “Dave likes…” and so on.

The big difference, though, is the “timeline.”

Your timeline is your home screen and where you’ll spend 99% of your time on Plurk. It allows you to easily view and scroll from left to right using your mouse or keyboard as plurks are created by you and your friends throughout the day. It gives you a clear view into what everybody is up to recently and lets you stay caught up on what your friends are doing.

Essentially, the timeline lets you visualize who’s posted what, and when. It’s a neat solution to the problem of messages quickly scrolling off the bottom of peoples’ screens, which I frequently get with my Twitter account.

So why the buzz?

Evidently, a couple of “A-list” people (Plurk’s words, not mine) discovered the service this weekend and wrote about it, bringing with them a bunch of new users… and so the viral marketing goes.

My first Plurk post

Of course, this is good because, y’know, we can’t just move to any of the existing Twitter competitors like Pownce or Jaiku when Twitter’s down, right? We obviously need another tool to fill the gap left by… oh wait… there isn’t a gap.

I don’t get it. Twitter is popular because of its simplicity and its user base. Plurk has neither, and I just don’t need another social network diluting my time further. This feels a lot like the hype around Pownce when it launched. Now… *crickets*

 My initial thoughts on Plurk

I feel bad because Plurk is based near Toronto (Mississauga, in fact) so the quasi-Canadian in me wants it to succeed. What’s more, the site gives me a warm, welcoming feeling that Twitter just doesn’t have. It’s fun to use, it’s well thought-out and it could be neat.

Perhaps, if Twitter’s outages continue, Plurk could steal away some of its users. Lord knows our patience has been pushed to the limit recently. Alternatively, it could carve out another niche (Venture Beat suggests it’s targeting high school teenage girls) and co-exist with the elephant in the room.

Unfortunately, though, I just don’t see the need for another tool like this. I’ve been wrong before, though.

What do you think? Twitter-killer, cool new addition or waste of attention?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.