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This article was published on June 2, 2008

Are you already Plurking?

Are you already Plurking?
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Actually that isn’t the right question. It’s supposed to be: “Is your mother already plurking?”. She will never use Twitter, it’s too complicated for her (Editors note: our moms surely would be smart enough to use twitter but maybe we would have a hard time convincing them of Twitters usefulness). I’ve introduced some non-geeky friends on Twitter lately, and even they have a hard time figuring it out. But Plurk is a totally different story. This microblogging service has several advantages for not so web-savvy users in comparison to the service of Biz Stone and Evan Williams:

  • The time line is actually displayed as a time line. This is symbolic for the whole intuitive UI of Plurk;
  • You can group your friends in cliques. Something a lot of people have been asking for on Twitter;
  • It’s possible to get an overview of conversations. So you don’t have to browse to different pages to catch up with an interesting discussion;
  • They brought back the smiley icons. People recognize that from their social networks ;-) ;
  • They’ve introduced Karma, which is based on your activity, not just the amount of people following you. This is better for the network as it gives those friend-collectors a hard time;
  • The service looks good and friendly.


A serious Twitter alternative?

Of course I can mention an equal number of reasons why you should prefer Twitter over Plurk, as all your friends are there, tons of mash-ups have been built and the mobile integration is pretty good. And they have web celebs behind them. So I don’t think Twitter users will switch that fast. It has become part of a life-style after all.

But at the same time, after browsing around on Plurk for a while I’ve already noticed some early adopters like Robert Scoble and Duncan Riley are checking the service out. They’re probably all eager for an alternative to always unreliable Twitter. I mean, Scoble is already really emotional about somebody stealing his nickname Scobleizer on Plurk. So even the early adopters might be willing to switch.

Discovering your microblogging need

As soon as Plurk has mobile support – now there is just a ‘coming soon’ page -, some people who just got started with Twitter and have discovered their microblogging need, might switch to Plurk. Just like Facebook took over the stick from Friendster. The need is created is by the early adopters, the early majority adopts a more user-friendly alternative.

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