Plurk: an Initial Review

When I was browsing through different forums, I noticed several people mention Plurk www.plurk.com. Most of these people use Plurk as a source to role play characters from different fandoms. I know nothing about this site so I decided to write a blog about my initial reaction to it.

As I write this, I’m letting you know that I have never been on Plurk before. All I know is that it’s another form of social media. So here is my general review and response to the site.

Plurk Screen Capture

After finding it on Google, I pulled it up. My first reaction is I’m still not quite sure what this it. The opening page set up has a list of posts from users. You can vote whether or not you like this post. It looks sort of like Twitter, but the voting makes it different. The voting appears to be similar to the “Like” option on Facebook. On the right it says:

“Tired of your existing social networks? Share your life easily with friends, family and fans.”

That still doesn’t tell me what you are, Plurk. Are you a way to link all of my social media and share it? At least it has a big button that lets you sign up for free. Let’s click on it.

On the sign up page there is a message reading :

“Sign up to share short messages, links, videos and everything else with your friends.”

Okay, so this is starting to look more like Twitter than Facebook. The sign up process is easy. It’s the standard make a user name, add your email, and you’re in. Unlike other social media sites that I use, you don’t have to click on a confirmation email. It took me automatically to my profile page to set up. My profile page is split into two sections. A blue top half tells me this is where I “plurk” and where I see my friends’ plurks. So Plurk is the new verb that we’re using like tweet. The bottom half is a brown section where I set up my profile. May I mention that the picture they have up as my default is this creepy looking face. I’m not too fond of that. It’s a bit of a turn off.

Already I found a confusing part of the set up. Up in the blue section where I Plurk, it had a continue button. I clicked it to read more on how to do this thing. Instead of finding more information, it took me to where I can set up my connections to other social media. Shouldn’t that be under the brown section with my account setup? You can set up through your email, Facebook, instant messenger, and Twitter. Though if I may add, it says that I can connect to Twitter, but I do not see a Twitter option. At the top, there are friend suggestions, ways to look up friends, and an option to make “Cliques.” Cliques are the way to put your friends in a list. I’m sorry, but the word clique is a turn off for me. That word always had negative connotations in my mind. A clique is an exclusive group of people where others cannot join. Thanks to high school and college memories, there were times where I was left out of cliques or kicked out of groups of friends, because I apparently wasn’t cool enough to be there. I’m sure there have been other people with similar experiences.

Scrolling down to the brown section to set up my user page, I see the word “Karma” in huge text. After studying religion in college, I’m wondering what karma has to do with this. I clicked on it and found out to get higher karma, you have to plurk constantly, follow and respond to friends, and not spam other users. The reward for having higher karma is a new set of icons. After browsing through the icons, I’m not impressed. They look like AIM instant messenger took their rejected icon ideas and threw up on Plurk. Make some original ones like on Skype. At least gaining karma isn’t hard to do as mentioned above.

You can also acquire badges on the site. At least these are cooler than the icons. You get badges for doing things on the site like plurking so many times, starting a community, and finding bugs. One caught my eye over the others. It’s a yin yang you get rewarded for reaching “Plurk Nirvana” whatever that means. What is with this Buddhist and Taoism thing going on?

Since I don’t see an option that lets me customize my profile, I decided to get rid of the creepy user default picture. When I clicked on it, it not only brought up the picture uploaded but also my profile customization option. Why is that option under the user picture? I uploaded a photo fairly easily. As long as it’s smaller than one megabyte, you’re fine. I do appreciate the option to have .gif images. I like when my pictures move on my profile.

Time to customize my page. There are two options. The first is they give you a list of websites to customize your page with more complex backgrounds, and the second is just changing the colors. To keep this simple, I changed my colors. Or did I? I assumed that it would be different colors to choose from. Instead it’s different patterns. Just a few examples, one looks like the computers in The Matrix, one appears to have designs like a Turkish rug, and there are other choices of solid colors. I chose the simple pink background. To change up the timeline, it’s the same process, and I selected the similar pink option. One thing I notice is that I can’t give my page a title right away. I have to have ten karma points first. If I wanted my page to look professional, I can’t even title it. Plurk, leave your karma points for your reject icons and let me make a nice profile page. At the bottom of the set up page, you have access to these karma creatures. When you have so many points, you can select a creature. These little guys are flat out scary looking. Are they supposed to be cute? They look like Pokemon and a Rob Zombie film had a bunch of love children. One is a bunny with monster teeth and what looks like blood splattered on it. I don’t want any of these creatures on my profile.

My profile is set up. Time to plurk. The action of plurking sort of looks like a Facebook status. You can choose a verb to use in your update and add a link, a youtube link, or a picture. I tried out both the picture and youtube uploads, and they’re very simple. As a first time user, I appreciate this. Like Twitter, you have a certain number of characters to write a short message. Searching for other plurkers (or people who use plurk) is easy. You type in an interest or a person’s name to find them.

So far Plurk is okay. Since it’s very similar to Twitter, I believe it’s a site that will become easier to use once I get the hang of it and play around more. Overall even though I’m a bit freaked out by the creatures and the set up process was confusing at times, I do see the potential of Plurk. On a side note, I mentioned above that they didn’t send me a confirmation email. When I went back to check, I found an email waiting for me. I was able to access most of the site without confirming my account. I’m not sure how I feel about that. The only problem I see was the opening line on the first page. It states that it is easy to share my life with friends and family. This can only be accomplished when I link my other social media sites with Plurk. If that’s the case, I might as well stick with Facebook and Twitter.

Hope Mullinax

Hope writes for Clickfire and other online web publishers.

9 comments

  1. Drew

    Nice post! Infomative and humorous. Thanks a lot for clarifying things and also giving readers a mini walkthough and opinion of this site. I never heard of it until now and honestly, it looks like a knockoff Twitter. Eh…I don’t think I’ll be signing up. Lol. Anyway good work and I look forward to your other posts~

  2. Kim

    After reading this, I’m not sure about Plurk. Sure, it sounds pretty cool. It is also completely superfluous. Because of Facebook and Twitter, I doubt many people will be using Plurk for longer than a few months and I’ve decided not to waste my time making an account and trying to link up with friends.

  3. Tisha

    I’ve never heard of plurk until now and judging from what you have written about it I don’t think I’m that interested in it. I’ll stick to twitter and facebook. You were very informative without sounding like you were lecturing us or sounding like a dull textbook, which I think is very great. Thanks for an interesting read.

  4. Robyn

    A great down to earth walk through on Plurk. I felt like I was checking out the site on my own! You have a great way of explaining the process. Although I think I will stick to facebook (not much on Twitter) I appreciate your insight.

  5. Emory Rowland

    It seems that Twitter pretty much defines microblogging. Does anyone know of another platform that even comes close to being Twitter? Pownce shut down and Tumblr seems to be more of a blogging tool.

  6. Esmir O

    I visited Plurk few days ago when I heard some classmates talking about. From what I overhear it sounded like an awesome micro-blogging social network, but when I visited it the first impression I got was a bad copy of twitter.

    Just like you, I will stick to twitter and facebook.

    Esmir O.
    updatedmen.com

  7. Elizabeth

    I love Plurk for its threaded posting, but not so much for the funky usability. I suspect that the developers are programmers who left out the usability and gui until the programming framework was built.

    Though I know there are people on Plurk who are active on Second Life, the biggest clusters of similar people on my timeline are 1-8th grade teachers, knitters and spinners, a few photographers and web some nerds… and, for some reason, a LOT of teens from Asia.

    In comparison to Twitter, you’ll see way less self promo. Commercially oriented profiles are frowned on more – maybe it’s because of the threaded nature of it. Also, there is no way for a Twitter-style follower-getting bot to work Plurk, because it’s more obvious who is not a real and involved person. You do see self employed craftspeople and writers who post about their books and soaps and whatever, but it’s another world from the auto posted stuff that SEO rockstars & MLM types spread on Twitter. I know a few web devs who stuck with Plurk, but they’re not the well known ones who get a zillion followers on Twitter.

    Unlike FaceBook, private profiles are private. Because search is super funky, even the public profiles are less public, once you scroll off the main screen. You sort of have to know who you’re looking for, and go over to check in. People who are happy with the shared feed reader aspect of Twitter can be lonely and miffed on Plurk. Plurk can be more like checking in w/ people you know at a coffee shop.

  8. Elizabeth

    p.s. It’s not well documented, but the profile thingy will let you do css of some sort on almost everything. You are not limited to Plurk’s built in pattern choices.

  9. Emory Rowland

    I didn’t realize the extent of the difference in culture. Plurk might be a nice place to just get away from all the noise. Thanks for sharing that, Elizabeth.

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