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Plurk 1 Month In – Small Can be Good

plurk.jpgI’ve just celebrated a month of playing with Plurk (join here if you’re not already a Plurker) over this last weekend so I thought it might be a good opportunity to spend a little time analyzing my experience with this new(ish) social messaging tool.

Summary of My Experience

Let me cut to the chase – While Plurk is smaller… for me it has been more effective at driving traffic to my blogs, the numbers and quality of interactions has been high, there is real opportunity to build profile and it’s becoming quite feature rich. Read on to learn more.

The decrease in performance and lack of new features at Twitter has caused many of it’s users to explore different social messaging tools like FriendFeed a smaller group have run to Plurk. The weight of numbers using the service is considerably smaller from what I can see – but it’s an enthusiastic community and I’ve been enjoying engaging with them a great deal.

Traffic

I am always asked about how much traffic these sorts of sites send to my blogs so lets start with this one. Over the last 30 days here is how many unique visitors Twitter and Plurk have sent to ProBlogger.

plurk-traffic.jpg

I should make a few of observations to give these stats a little more power.

1. The Twitter figure will be actually higher than this as it only measures people arriving from twitter.com and not any of the many Twitter clients that are out there.

2. On Twitter I have over 7600 people following me – on Plurk I have 865 ‘friends’ (meaning we mutually follow each other) and 579 ‘fans’ (meaning they follow me). So in total Plurk has 1444 followers (less than a fifth of Twitter).

3. I’ve included ALOT less links to ProBlogger on Plurk than Twitter. Every single post I do automatically goes up on Twitter – probably about a tenth of these go up on Plurk.

So all in all I’d say that Plurk probably does better at driving traffic.

The community there seem to love the sharing of links. The cool thing is that when you share links discussions often pop up around your links also. For example – this plurk had almost as many comments on it as the post it linked to here on the blog!

Interaction/Conversation

Social Messaging sites area all about networking and conversation. So how does Plurk do on that front?

I’ve written previously (and given an actual example) of how Plurk differs from Twitter in it’s conversations (ie that Plurk tends to be more interactive between one persona and a group of people on Plurk as followers interact with each other as well as the Plurker). I still find this to be true.

On average I’d say that when i post a question Plurk AND Twitter that I get more responses on Plurk despite having less than a fifth the followers. This is because conversations on Plurk tend to stay alive longer as they are put on your followers timelines not only when you write them but when people respond to them (a feature called ‘new responses’). This means people tend to reply or comment not only once on your initial plurk but later on as others comment.

I have to say that having each plurk and it’s responses contained into the one thread of conversation is gold when it comes to referring back to previous conversations.

Size and Key Influencers

I have heard a few people critique Plurk for not having ‘key influencers’ and for being ‘too Small’. Twitter and FriendFeed have their Scoble’s while on Plurk Robert Scoble has a lot of fans and friends but has only plurked twice since June 10.

While it’s true that there might be a few less ‘cool Web 2.0 kids’ on Plurk there are still some amazing people. I actually find that the quality of conversation, wisdom and expertise on Plurk is as high as it is on any other social media site. People are people and while there are fewer numbers I actually enjoy the intimacy of Plurk – something that perhaps would not be achieved if all the cool kids brought a huge influx of numbers over.

That’s not to say that some bigger personalities wouldn’t be welcomed on Plurk – but just because they are not active doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.

Update – The lack of ‘key influencers’ and smallness on Plurk also leaves more room for others to fill their shoes. I’ve seen a number of Plurkers really take on leadership in that community over the last few weeks. The Pond might not be quite as big but they’ve made a name for themselves and are leveraging that profile really well. I suspect that on Twitter they may have become a little lost.

Features

I’m enjoying the development of Plurk in terms of features being rolled out. With Twitter the emphasis seems to be on keeping it running rather than breaking new ground. There is some great development happening around Twitter by developers (I’ve recently loved playing with TweetDeck for instance) but Twitter itself has had few new features added to it. Plurk on the other hand has had new features being added every week (if not every day or two). It’s not perfect and still has bugs from time to time (and I wish it’d release an API to let developers build tools for it) but there’s an energy and feeling of excitement about it that I really enjoy.

Conclusion

Plurk has not replaced Twitter for me and I don’t foresee that it ever will. However for me it’s been a rich source of ideas, community, connections and conversation. I’m finding new ways of using each social media tool that I interact on every day and see real potential in my continued use of Plurk. Yes it’s smaller than some other social messaging options – but size doesn’t always matter….

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jaffer says:

    Hi Darren,
    Where or how do you recieve your referral statistics ? I’ve seen several others including Scobleizer show similar screenshots.

    I’m not a huge fan of plurk because most of my friends are on Twitter. It all depends on the number of enthusiastic followers you’ve got !
    I usually get a reply or two to interesting Tweets. But next to zero replies on Plurk.

    But I have to admit, Plurking can be addictive, especially when you are looking to increase your Karma and unlock features !

  2. Momma says:

    I agree with everything you’ve said wholeheartedly. I have triple the friends on Twitter and have had approximately 10 responses to anything I’ve ever Twittered. I have far better conversations and interaction on Plurk. Not to mention, a lot of fun playing with the customizations.

    I’m also very tired of seeing that darned whale! I’m much happier on Plurk.

  3. I will give Plurk a shot and try it..Thanks Darren

  4. Jacky Supit says:

    agreed!
    Plurk is just better then Twitter.

  5. Brian says:

    Nice review of plurk.

    The timeline feature is neat (although it took a few days to get the hang of it). The one thing that I would like to see, is some way to highlight 1 or more plurks – just to make it easier to keep track of. Currently you have to keep scrolling and visually find a particular plurk – would be nice if this could be improved in some way – maybe have a way to follow say up to 10 conversations.

  6. Scott Hebert says:

    I think the threaded nature of conversations on Plurk has the real potential to drive a lot of traffic to any blog. So many tweets seem to get lost in all the noise.

  7. David Hobson says:

    Not been on plurk for a while i really need to get back to it.

  8. Great post!

    I want to echo your sentiments and add that tha responsiveness of the website is also a big plus.

    It also helps that the developers take time to interact with us.

  9. moserw says:

    I did sign up for Plurk but then never got around to using it. Twitter I used to use from GTalk but its IM integration is down now and limited only to receiving tweets, but no posting. Guess I need to get a move and explore Plurk. Thanks for the thumbs up.

  10. Talk Binary says:

    I signed up and added you on Plurk! Hopefully we can become friends.

    The interface looks much nicer than Twitter btw! Hopefully I can learn to use it in my advantage. =)

    Cheers!

  11. Betty says:

    Hi, Darren! Thank you for sharing! I am already a Twitt-oholic and I think I’ll try Plurk, too! Oh, thanks for telling us about TweetDeck! I’ll try that one, too!

  12. I agree, Darren. I have had fun playing with Plurk and the conversations are way better and much easier to follow. I have had more interactions with fewer friends (I have about a third of the friends on Plurk that i have on Twitter) but the communicaiton is much richer. I haven’t given up on Twitter, but it’s been hard to use lately.

    Plurk is also great for Plurksourcing. I wrote a post on DailyTechBits today which was a roundup of users’ views of cool Plurk features. That conversation stayed alive all weekend while it would have been lost on Twitter.

  13. Rachel says:

    Thanks for that useful information. I appreciate the fact that somebody else is figuring stuff out for all of us rookie bloggers.

    Back to plurk I go!

  14. Darren encompassed my exact sentiments perfectly. Plurk is my kind of tea. It is a little hard being a small fish in a small pond, but as Plurk grows there will be more and more quality people to follow. Give it a try and see what you think. If you don’t enjoy the timeline the mobile version of plurk looks a lot like twitter.

    Also, I have about 1/5th of followers on Plurk too.

  15. Therese says:

    Great review! I’ve only been on Plurk for a week or so and although I didn’t like it at first I kept with it. I’m glad I did! As a long-time chat junkie I like the way the conversations flow…it’s sort of a cross between a message board and live chat. I’ll stick with Twitter…but I’m also happy to call myself a Plurker now too!

  16. Nice results with Plurk,
    gonna try it!

  17. kusum says:

    iam gonna try plurk myself now

  18. Cindy Thomas says:

    I’ve just started with both Twitter and Plurk, and Twitter is having so many problems. While I will probably stay with Twitter, I much prefer Plurk and the way it functions. The timelines make it easy to keep up with conversations,plus it’s overall ease of use and layout are just cool.

    Nice post!

  19. LiveCrunch says:

    People like Robert don’t like plurk because plurk does not depend on how much friends you have you still get rated by karma and not friends popularity unlike twitter does.

    I have been plurking for over 1month now and both of us on same day we became Top 10 Plurkers and we know why! Because we like the conversation, we like to exchange ides and we like to ask questions to see different opinions in “one plurk” . There is no way twitter can measure with Plurk- When it comes to conversation, stability and people over all.

    Anyways I wish you Darren would read more private messages LOL…

    As far as my UV stats goes, plurk sends me more traffic then twitter.

    If any of you wish to see who I am on plurk please do so

    http://www.plurk.com/user/LiveCrunch

    Thank you for this great post.

  20. Great write-up on Plurk. I plurked it :-)

  21. Bloggeries says:

    Plurk is hand down the most fun I’ve had on a social networking site for quite some time. For me it’s the fact that you can keep each thought along with others thoughts on the matter separated. It makes dealing with lot’s of information quite easy and enjoyable.

    I just hope it becomes massive so I can meet more people through this powerful medium.

  22. Riayn says:

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying your time on Plurk. Like you I find the threaded conversations on Plurk the best feature of the tool. I have found that Plurk provides the best forum to discuss ideas whilst Twitter provides the best forum to share links.

  23. ZenElements says:

    Hi Darren,
    Really good and fairly written post about Plurk. It was really interesting to see the traffic driven from both Twitter and Plurk. Continues to show how a medium such as Social Media/Networking sites can pay greatly to those who share well with the community they are involved with.

    Keep up the great work. I know you will!

    Alex | Zen

  24. noemi says:

    More than anything, plurk is work and play at the same time. I get to de-stress while working. Of course, I set limits to my plurk time.

  25. While I agree with the overall quality of the user experience at Plurk, I am more optimistic about Plurk’s future. Yes, Twitter was first to market, helping it to gain a growth momentum anyone would be envious of…I’m also a firm believer that creme rises to the top…and here, Plurk is heavy creme indeed. The very nature of the user interface/time-line/threaded conversations is the key difference that accounts for the overall higher quality experience. What’s interesting is that while only 1% of Twitter’s members are considered “addicts” and 24% “regulars” by “Audience Composition” (from Quantcast.com)…Plurk has 4 times the “addicts” and 36% “regulars”. Time will tell if the ratios hold as the membership gap closes (hopefully) between the two. All Plurk needs is a good “PlurkWh*re” to create some quality humor videos like Twitter has…then we’ll have a real horse race.

  26. Darren, you write that there are Key Influencers missing at plurk. I think you are a kind of key influencer.

  27. amirulcyber says:

    your writing sytle is different.Thanks..

  28. IMNJ says:

    Darren -
    One of the best features of Plurk is the response feature. I personally feel that Plurk is more like a conversion whereas Twitteris a micro-post. Perhaps other “big names” feel less comfortable in that environment? Just a thought.

  29. Darren,

    I like your comments about the absence of or lack of participation from the key Web 2.0 influencers on Plurk.

    This is the one thing I like about Plurk. The Web 2.0 whores (e.g. Laporte, Rose, Albrecht, Scobel, etc) are not on Plurk screaming “Friend me!” and “Follow Me!”.

    I friend or follow people on Plurk because I think they have interesting and / or funny things to say. They don’t have to be trendy or famous.

    I hope that the cool Web 2.0 gang stays away from Plurk for a while and lets it grow steadily and stabilise.

    I am wondering if Plurk could become the “thinking person’s Twitter”?

  30. The major difference between Twitter followers and Plurk followers is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to spot a spammer in the group then and get everyone to know about it.

  31. Very interesting. I’ve been hearing a lot about Plurk and comparisons between it and Twitter, but I have to say Twitter is steadily going downhill. It’s like a website that’s perpetually down and with “promised” features that don’t deliver.

    I hope to see some more posts about what Plurk can do and deliver in the way of networking. I hope to join it too. Thanks again.

  32. Connie Reece says:

    Thanks for your post, Darren. I was an early adopter on Twitter and have over 2,000 followers there. As Twitter has grown, it has become more of a broadcast tool and less about conversation. Plurk, on the other hand, is all about conversation. I find myself drawn to it more and more because of the quality of interactions there.

    A handful of us have been holding “plurkshops” — impromptu workshops where we open a conversation thread around a particular topic (usually social media related) and ask questions or share knowledge. Some very valuable resources have come out of those discussions.

  33. I just recently joined twitter and have seen a good spike in readership on my blog. However, I feel I’m spreading myself too thin like you mentioned in a previous blog post. I’m not sure that I could do a good job with both twitter and plurk. Do you recommend one over and against the other if someone can only do one at the time?

    Anyway, I definitely value the social media sites and will try not to spread myself too thinly as I only spend time blogging about 2 hours a day. I wish I could dedicate more time to it. Still, I try to post quality content daily and my blog is growing. Thanks for all the tips on your site. I read you religiously :)

    nathancreitz

  34. Marisa says:

    What is up, headless doc!?

    Nice. Cute fish.

  35. Mack Collier says:

    Darren your stats back up what I have noticed as well. I have roughly 5X the followers on Twitter, but Plurk sends me almost as much traffic as Twitter does. Also, several times I have posted the exact same comment on Plurk and Twitter. The comment on Twitter usually gets no replies, while a conversation always springs up around the comment on Plurk.

    Plurk users are simply more engaged, it’s not even close. Twitter seems like a large crowd, Plurk seems like a small community.

  36. Excellent Post! I too decided to attempt Plurk after the Twitter malfunctions. It’s nice to read your analysis on the differences. I’m not seeing the same benefits on Plurk that I have on Twitter. I consistently refer new users to Twitter, but wouldn’t feel the same about Plurk quite yet.
    I hope this reply doesn’t affect my Plurk “kharma”.

  37. ShannonRenee says:

    It could be Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, etc., I’m going to use the easiest interface. It took me all of 3 minutes to figure out how Twitter worked, post, response, conversation, butt in on someone else’s conversation, or reply to another, no fuss, no muss. Yes, Twitter has had it’s problems; however, I maintain that most of these sites will have issues at some point if and when they explode with active members at a similar rate as Twitter.

    As for Plurk, I haven’t yet figured out how to use it. I haven’t been able to search for folks and add them, and the interface of going back & forth seems frenetic to me. I didn’t realize how much of a linear thinker I was until I got to Plurk and had a heck of time using it. If I need a tutorial on a social network, then I would prefer not to use it.

    I am happy for those who have found it useful and meaningful; however, I’m staying with Twitter until the bird flies the coop for good.

  38. zerolove says:

    Call me old fashion but with Plurk and now identi.ca and other popping up I’m sticking to twitter. I prefer Twhirl interface to Twitter and can’t keep a website open all day while at work. I wish they would all embrace the openMicroblogging and be able to link them all together under one common Micro Blogging tool. See http://openmicroblogging.org/ for more information.

  39. justin says:

    I love plurk, I never gave into twitter, myspace, or facebook, but I do admit plurk makes it fun with the karma points etc.
    add me http://www.plurk.com/user/taddict/

  40. I love Plurk too … just having trouble finding friends that have similar interests – i.e. parenthood or being a single mom. Is there a way to search Plurks similar to Tweetscan.

    If anyone wants to find me on plurk here’s my addy:

    http://www.plurk.com/user/MsSingleMama

  41. Tim Bossie says:

    Really like how you compared Twitter and Plurk. I like both of them for different reasons. Twitter and Plurk (as well as Pownce and Identi.ca) all have different “personalities” and uses. Twitter is more for broadcasting while Plurk seems to be more interactive and more in line with “community” building. People want to connect there while people on Twitter just want to up their followers so they can post their blog links.

    Just my thoughts.

  42. I think that if you have a lot of followers through your blog or other services its a lot easier to transition and see results through a new service. For people with blogs that are just starting out, its going to take a lot longer to start seeing a constant stream of readers come in from any of these services.

  43. Great post!

    I’ve just started using Plurk and I find the time-line interface pretty unique. As I engage in the conversation and it builds it will be interesting to see if I have the same meaningful chat exchanges on Plurk that you’ve explained here…
    Feel free to follow me on Plurk here http://www.plurk.com/user/fusedlogic or on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/fusedlogic

    I enjoy your blog…

  44. shea says:

    I joined.
    I am really glad that I decided to subscribe to this blog. It is a very good blog.

  45. Syed Balkhi says:

    I joined recently Darren. Thanks for the add.

    http://www.plurk.com/user/balkhis – Here is my profile if anyone else want to add me.

    A good idea would be to create a list of bloggers and their plurk profile so we can all network.

  46. I love Plurk and was drawn to it by this blog post. It is smaller and more intimate than Twitter. My queries and comments get more replies, many more, than Twitter. And, Plurk is just, well…more colorful, different and fun. By the way, I am greenmacva on Plurk :-)

  47. Have just joined Plurk as well.

    My profile is at http://www.plurk.com/user/michaelaulia if you are interested in networking :)