Nearly a week after finding out about Plurk.com, the latest in a series of Twitter clones, I decided I would finally give it a try. The service which defines 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.” works in a similar format to Twitter. 140 characters, you follow people, people follow you, yada, yada, yada. But I’m not here to talk about it’s pretty interface or how it works. There are a TON of other blogs that have come up over the last 24 hours about Plurk and how it works. I want to discuss the pros and cons of Plurk and who I think will come out on top in the battle Twitter vs. Plurk battle.
First off I want to point out what Plurk has done right. Plurk has clearly developed their system to handle an an increase in new users. I can’t imagine how many new subscribers the site got today with the huge influx of SEO/SEM professionals, including myself, that quickly swarmed the site earlier this morning. Plurk has also done a great job at creating a visually appealing interface; using various themes, a horizontal scrolling timeline, and a series of karma creatures to grace your profile. Plurk has also introduced karma, an incentive to get users to plurk regularly and invite their friends.
However, Twitter still has a lot to offer over the glitz and glam of Plurk. While Twitter has clearly had it’s share of issues lately you can quickly and easily find out what’s going on with your fellow twits in a clearly defined and easy to navigate text based timeline. The tedious task of checking updates, followed by checking replies, then clicking on messages to scroll through a series of replies is extremely tedious in Plurk, especially as your timeline grows in size.
A colleague of mine had an insane number of updates and responses this afternoon after stepping away from Plurk for a while. How many clicks did it take to get to the end of all the plurks? I don’t even think Mr. Owl has an answer to that one.
Twitter also has a number of desktop apps and browser addons that puts tweeting and receiving updates right at your finger tips. Not to mention the ability to tweet from your cell phone.
Finally Twitter still keeps the micro blogging feel to it. While you clearly see people tweeting back and forth to one another, you never get the feeling you are in a chat room or a group IM. Many times today while using Plurk I watched responses turn into a massive group discussion like you would see in a chat room or IM.
So who do I think will win the war? I think it’s still to early to say. If things stay the course and we don’t start seeing some third party apps and addons that give Plurk a more simplistic Twitterlike timeline and interface, then I think people will slowly resort back to their good friend Twitter. Productivity slowed to a halt today for many people that I followed and plurked with. Staying on top of updates, responses, and plurking is just too tedious and too time consuming of a task. Both myself and a number of colleagues at work had to pry ourselves away from the Plurk timeline just to make sure that we were somewhat productive for the day.
Also, until Plurk implements a text based plurking option many people who regularly micro blog by phone will continue to use Twitter. In fact a few of those I plurked with today said they were still using Twitter solely for the texting ability.
In the meantime those of us who swore by Twitter and are now experimenting with Plurk are forced to hang in limbo and hope something good comes of all of this.
For those of us in the SEO/SEM industry we are definitely having to keep an eye out on both timelines for now since I noticed some people were posting from conferences on one and not the other. We also don’t know what kind of value, if any, Plurks links may provide in the future. We are just now starting to see the value of links and trends on Twiter; how long, if at all, will it take to see these results on this relatively new network. And finally, how many of the key players in the industry are actually going to jump on the Plurk bandwagon? And if they don’t are we really going to spend our time balancing both Twitter and Plurk in our day to day schedules?
I have the feeling this battle is going to drag out for a while and in the meantime those of us using both will just have to suffer through it. Let’s hope that in the meantime I don’t miss anything important!