Cross-posted on Deb Robison’s blog
On last week’s Quick-n-Dirty podcast show, my co-host, Jennifer Leggio and I spent some time talking about Twitter wannabe, Plurk, and why it never really took off (see Compete’s comparative numbers). In fact, in my wrap up post, I went so far as to say that Plurk “sucked.” Well, our friend and listener, Deb Robison, hopped on the show’s live chat and told us not so fast. In fact, Deb argued that not only was Plurk not dead but rather that there were a number of reasons why she actually liked Plurk more than Twitter.
- threaded conversations easy to follow, seems to develop conversation better, more in-depth [AWS - fair point. Although there are a few third party apps that do this for Twitter like Mike Langford's TweetWorks] Deb: yes, but is TweetWorks widely known? Oddly, one of the best apps for following threaded Twitter conversations is the app-formerly-known-as TwiterFon, now called echofon, but is only available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, so it too languishes in obscurity.
- consistency of group builds relationships greeting, familiarity, connections- asking about personal/work issues
- timeline and response mechanism prevent missing a conversation you were participating in [Aaron: Twitter could benefit from this although hashtags make an attempt to replicate] Deb: but you still have to do a search for a hashtag potentially taking you away from your Twitter stream- obviously not the case if you use Tweetdeck, or Tweetgrid, but both have limitations- there is often a lag time.
- easier to decide who to friend-can see them participate in other conversations and how they are connected to the people you already know
- groups formed around communities within plurk- plurkshops, plurk weightloss, recipe exchange
- constantly adding new features (where does the money come from?)
- can post from other services such as ping.fm and posterous
- private conversations take place among a group of people [Aaron: in my mind, this is Plurk's biggest advantage over Twitter. I've heard that this functionality is underway on Twitter but right now, it's frustratingly absent]
- **Has anyone noticed my high level of restraint here? I never mention that- Plurk rarely goes down. A lot of folks migrated to Plurk during the season of the FAIL Whale last year, but moved back once things stabilized. [Aaron: great point]
Deb’s Plurk Con’s
- no community evangelism [Aaron - where's Robert Scoble when you need him?]
- karma- it’s only a novelty, not sure why people focus on it so much [Aaron - as I mentioned in the podcast, this is the thing I hate most about Plurk]
- hard to use on a PC- mouse trackball makes it easier to scroll side to side
- no SMS (IM though)
- only a couple of mobile apps
Aaron’s Twitter Pro’s
- Sheer numbers: Whether it’s 20 million or 40 million (yes, there is a question as to how many of these folks are actually active), many of my friends are here en masse. Deb: yes, but the numbers are overwhelming, some days I see people in my stream and think “who the hell is that and why am I following them? Or a friend doesn’t show up in my stream for days. They were active, but for some reason only some Tweeps show up in the stream. I am sure volume is the issue.
- Simplicity: yes, it took a little while to figure out Twitter but it was a whole lot easier to navigate than the land of weird looking animals with bones sticking out of their necks. Deb: again, see my argument about karma- who cares? Are you subject to nightmares after seeing Plurk critters? It’s about the conversation.
- Third party apps: due to Twitter’s open architecture, I’ve loved the apps that have been developed around Twitter. Deb: yep, the Plurk people missed the boat on this one. Although, I don’t understand why the Twitter folks couldn’t seem to innovate, Plurk constantly adds new features which seem to play the role of a third party app.
- Low barrier to following/un-following: unlike Facebook, I like the fact that following or un-following someone on Twitter has very little stigma. I can “try” someone’s stream if I like and then just as easily un-follow them if I don’t find value. Deb: never had any problem unfollowing people on Plurk or Twitter, but I notice some people really get upset when unfollowed. What’s the big deal? You have a thousand followers and you are going to miss me??
- Straightforward stream: while one might argue that this is the biggest strength and weakness of Twitter, I like the fact that I can dip in and out of the stream as I choose. If I want to update
and walk away for a day, there’s nobody waiting on the other side for me to finish my threaded conversation. Deb: yeah, but I have having to come in mid-stream when a conversation is going on and sort through the tweets to get to the origination of the convo. That is when I reach for TwitterFon (echofon).
- Spam: with mass adoption comes opportunity. With opportunity comes scam artists. Unfortunately, this has become a huge pain in the ass when it comes to determining who to follow back. Deb: I did not have to deal with a spammer until a couple of weeks ago. It was sending me through the roof. I experienced “SpamRage.”
- Threaded conversations: while there are third party apps that do this, it would be nice to have this “in-line” on Twitter.
- No group DMs: as I commented above, there are many a time when I would love to be able to send a group DM. For instance, I group blog with a number of friends over at Big Papelbon and it would be nice to be able to send a comment to all the contributors via DM all at one time.
- Hard to follow lots of users: yes, I do use Tweetdeck which makes following discrete groups easier but it would be nice if Twitter had Friendfeed like capabilities to pre-segment people into groups. Based on Deb’s “Plurk pro’s” above, it sounds like you can do this on Plurk. Deb: you can create groups and/or private conversations sent to individuals of your choice on Plurk, but I rarely do it. Tweetdeck crashes constantly, so I don’t use it anymore.
Gee, I feel like David Brooks and Gail Collins of the New York Times’ The Conversation blog where the opposing parties exchange niceties about summer vacation, then give their POVs. The Conversation ends nicely and we politely agree to disagree. That having been said, while I wouldn’t use the word “sucks” about Twitter, I don’t like it as much as Plurk, but feel I have to use it for my work- held hostage by a little bird and a whale. Thanks for the lovely discourse Aaron and I hope your summer on the Cape didn’t leave you with too bad of a sunburn. [Aaron: Deb, this has been a blast. And as you know, I love doing the point / counterpoint thing. Normally I spar weekly with Jennifer on the Quick-n-Dirty but I always welcome engaging with other smart folks like yourself.]