Posts Tagged ‘plurk’

Social Network Plurk Gets A Facelift

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

In what has recently seemed like a decrease in user activity it appears that Plurk is trying to change its image a little.  When I head over to the social site this morning to login I was greeted with this new home page layout.

New Plurk Home Page

But is it enough, and did they really come up with a new design that is really going to attract new users?  It’s always been my opinion that the one thing Plurk fails to do is make itself stand out amongst other social networking and microblogging sites on the net.

Plurk is unique in the fact that it is built around a physical timeline and makes it easier for friends and fans to interact freely in the plurk timeline .  Unlike Twitter you are able to see everybody’s response to a person’s Plurk regardless of whether or not you are following the person.  The opens up the conversation significantly and can also open you up to meeting other interesting Plurk users.

Sadly Plurk has never done a very good job at selling these points to users on their site and has never had a very appealing home page.  The new design is even less appealing with a boring white background and the usual lack of anything of real interest on the home page.  At this rate it makes me wonder how much longer Plurk will stay afloat.  Most of my social media and SEO guru friends left Plurk ages ago and I only check it a couple of times a day.

What do you think of the new Plurk home page?  Do you think its an improvement or has Plurk fallen back into the days of early 2.0 sites? Are you a Plurk user?  Have you seen a decrease in user activity as well?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How Changing Your Identity On Plurk Might Hurt You

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Ever since it blew up on Twitter back in June of this year I have been an avid user of the microblogging site Plurk.  At the beginning I had my qualms with Plurk, but in the end I wound up using Plurk probably just as much, if not more than Twitter.

Following the first month of using the service I did a post about Plurk’s karma rewards and how I felt that many of their perks were useless.  One in particular was the ability to change your display name once you reach 40 karma points.  At that time I mentioned how absurd it would be to establish yourself with a specific name just to turn around and become someone else.   I mentioned at the time how much doing something like that could hurt you. More specifically I said,

“…anyone who friends you after you’ve changed your display name probably only knows you by that name. Because of this they are probably unaware that you were once JoePlurk, since your current display name is MightyJoePlurk. In turn they may use @MightyJoePlurk when they reference you, which sadly does not link back to your profile. Which brings us to another problem. Let’s say that someone wants to visit your profile, and they only remember you by the name MightyJoePlurk. If they use that in the profile URL they will be sent to a friendly screen featuring our friends in the A-Team.  Sure it’s amusing, but not when you are trying to find someone.”

For those of you new to Plurk or who did not use Plurk in the beginning; the A-Team reference was in regards to an error page you were directed to when a profile didn’t exist or the site was experiencing difficulties.

Plurk partially fixed this problem after the fact by making it so that if you did use @newdisplayname it would redirect to the proper profile.  The catch?  It only works if the person has already commented on the Plurk you are referring to them in.  If you start out a new plurk to someone using @newdisplayname it will either take you to a page telling you the user can’t be found, or worse yet, someone else’s profile who used your alternative display name as their primary display name.

Let me clarify in case you just missed that.  Plurk allows new users to use other users alternate display names as their primary display name.  I’ll give you a personal example of this.  My friend Audrey signed up with the display name ShirleyTipsy.  When she reached 40 karma points she changed her display name to PrettyInInk.  Then in November a new user signed up with the primary display name prettyinink.  Now if I or any of Audrey’s friends type @PrettyInInk in a plurk that she hasn’t commented in or started it links to 15 year old Chelsea Gogola instead.

The biggest problem I see with this is that if you didn’t sign up with your brand name or known username and switched to the proper name later, your competition could easily sign up using the correct brand or username as their primary display name in hopes of capturing plurk traffic and users that you might be targeting.  While I understand Plurk hasn’t been doing a whole lot for business conversions it is still a social site that could potentially pull in clients and new site visitors.

My advice to Plurk is to do away with this system for good and simply stick everyone with their original display names.  Some people may get upset, but if you explain to them how flawed the system was to begin with I’m sure they’ll understand.

Social Media In The Workplace

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Those of you who follow me on Plurk or Twitter probably saw my rants recently about the corporate decision to block on our network at the office.  While nothing was officially passed down, I am sure they felt it would help those of us who use it be “more productive” with our day.  The irony of this change is that the decision to block Plurk came shortly after the return of (The Gypsy) David Harry’s SEO Plurkshop; a clique which I frequently reference and pass on links from at the office.  I can understand blocking social sites like Plurk from departments that don’t NEED social media, but does it make sense to block something like Plurk from website marketers?

I get that social media isn’t always a business venture, and I know that those of us in the office that were using Plurk were not doing so on a strictly business basis.  I’ll be the first to admit that my use of Plurk was not always for the harvesting SEO information and news.  However, the time spent on Plurk outside of those tasks was used to develop relationships with others in the industry.  Relationships that have often provided me with useful and relevant information related to my work here in the office.

I think the problem is that most people still don’t understand social media and the value in it.  Sure there is A LOT of random banter and back and forth on social networks, but those interactions are what build relationships.  And out of those relationships you build a network of people who share their knowledge, their information, and their thoughts on subjects that in many cases may inspire your work or even give you a new idea or concept you might have never considered.

When the threat of a plurkless office was brought up a few months back I quickly tried to show the value in social media by openly passing on links and information from social sites that I felt would benefit my colleagues and our clients that I found on sites like Plurk and Twitter.  I would share links 2, 3, sometimes even 4 times a day with information that was relevant to the work we do.  These articles and ideas all came from social media and I would not have been aware of them had it not been for these sites.  There is always someone else out there who follows different people, reads different blogs, or has their own SEO experiences to share, many of which will never show up in your reader or during your personal research.

I feel that social media and website marketing go hand in hand.  I am a strong believer that social media can change the way businesses interact with the general public and other businesses in ways never imagined.  I also believe that the diversity of ideas, points of view, and information provided on social networks is a great way to help businesses and marketers alike stay on top of their industry and build a network of resources often lost in the sea of information on the internet.  Sure, social media might take a few minutes away from client work off and on throughout the day, but I think that the overall rewards outweigh those few minutes of “productivity” that are lost.  By blocking sites like Plurk in a marketing environment you are separating yourself from another avenue of valuable information that might not only benefit your employees, but often your clients.

Plurk Perks: Do Karma Rewards Really Add Any Value?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

One of the biggest muses of the social networking site Plurk is karma. Karma is obtained by using various aspects of the service, be it inviting friends, regular plurking, or leaving comments on other people’s plurks. The use of karma, which I assume is a way for the service to keep users active, is both a blessing and a curse. While higher karma graces you with various perks from the service, it also results in a timeline full of karma related plurks from other users.

“…been losing karma”, “…thinks my karma is stalled”, and “…getting close to going over 70 karma points” were all plurks that graced my timeline at various points today, all of which resulted in numerous responses about other people’s karma and their disappointment or excitement about it. But in the end what dose karma actually provide us? Sure you get some perks, but how many of those actually add value to the user experience.

Perhaps the most useful karma reward is achieved at 10 karma points. At 10 points you have the ability to personalize your timeline title. From a personalization aspect I think this is valuable, much like adding your age, location, etc., it gives you the ability to give other users an idea of who you are.

At 25 points you are rewarded additional emoticons, while these can add some fun visualization to the plurk timeline I really don’t think it adds any real value to the service. Furthermore the dancing banana was only funny the first 5 times.

Dancing banana emoticon from the social media site Plurk.

The emoticon perks repeat again at 50 and again if you invite 10 of your friends to join. Again these simply add more flare to your posts and in some cases infect your timeline just as much as karma plurks do.

But perhaps the most useless, and in my opinion the one perk that could negatively affect your Plurk experience is achieved at 40 karma points. At 40 karma points you are given the ability to change your plurk display name. To me this is the most baffling concept to come out of a social site. You establish yourself as a specific individual with a specific display name for the first 40 karma points, and then can suddenly change your identity on a whim.

How might this hurt you? For starters anyone who friends you after you’ve changed your display name probably only knows you by that name. Because of this they are probably unaware that you were once JoePlurk, since your current display name is MightyJoePlurk. In turn they may use @MightyJoePlurk when they reference you, which sadly does not link back to your profile. Which brings us to another problem. Let’s say that someone wants to visit your profile, and they only remember you by the name MightyJoePlurk. If they use that in the profile URL they will be sent to a friendly screen featuring our friends in the A-Team.

I pitty the fool who types in the wrong URL!

Sure it’s amusing, but not when you are trying to find someone.

Clearly there is room for Plurk to rethink their karma rewards and provide something that can potentially enhance the user experience. First and foremost if you are going to allow people to choose a alternate display name, then at least make it so that if someone uses @displayname it links to the persons profile, the same should apply to the user URL.

Some additional ideas that stemmed from a plurk posted by bloggeries asking what people would want to see as added perks after 50 karma points included adding additional qualifiers to choose from, customizable qualifiers, and the ability to share karma with friends.

I think of these perhaps the most valuable from a user standpoint would be the additional, or customizable qualifiers. The qualifiers always make it easier to fit what you have to say in 140 characters by saving you a few characters at the beginning. In addition it allows you to express yourself in more ways. I think the ability to share karma, though a friendly gesture, would add to the karma whoring that already plagues people’s timelines.

I think the current perks provided to Plurk users add to the experience of plurking, but the value in them lacks. Especially when you look at the shortcomings of things like changing your display name.

Plurk Downtimes Still Don't Have The Impact A Twitter Downtime Does

Monday, June 16th, 2008

So many of us who are testing the waters of Plurk were greeted by an interesting Plurk page today featuring our friends from the A-Team.

The site was down for over 30 minutes and just recently came back up. Unfortunately Plurk’s blog gives us no insight as to what the downtime was about. Are there new features? Improved features? What did this downtime provide us?

Perhaps the most interesting thing was the lack of outcry on Twitter regarding the downtime. Following recent downtimes on Twitter, Plurk users would fill their timelines with gripes about Twitter outages and the incompetence of the service. In this instance I saw maybe two comments on Twitter about the outage. Aside from that the Twitter timeline was business as usual.

Clearly users have not built up a reliance on Plurk the way they have with Twitter. I think it goes to show that Plurk still hasn’t reached the point of being a big information source like Twitter. Users aren’t looking to Plurk for the latest in industry news and information like they have with Twitter.

I still believe that Plurk has a lot of potential, but the buzz surrounding today’s outage, or lack thereof, seems to show that most people haven’t climbed aboard the Plurk bandwagon just yet.

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