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What is Plurk?

Social Networking Fatigue not withstanding, Plurk is more than a Twitter clone. Plurk is themed IM (Instant Messaging) for groups of people spread out on a time line. And if you like Twitter and Pownce, chances are, you’re going to like Plurk, too…

Plurk logoSocial Networking Fatigue not withstanding, Plurk is more than a Twitter clone. Plurk is themed IM (Instant Messaging) for groups of people spread out on a time line. And if you like Twitter and Pownce, chances are, you’re going to like Plurk, too…


In their own words, Plurk is a:

“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.”

But if you ask those other early adopters out there, who’ve seen their work time devoured by Plurk, it’s a social network with a measure of charisma and style.

Plurk features — The Good, Bad, and the GUI

see how much karma you haveThe reason it is just so tempting to jump in head to feet with Plurk is because it doesn’t just offer the neurotic updaters of Twitter a chance to do their thing, but the media sharers of Pownce and the stalkers of Facebook to revel in interconnectivity and really a taste of every other fairly popular social website out there at the moment. It does not just do one thing – it does the thing: connects.

And not only does it connect in efficient and easy ways, but it does so with a snazzy user interface that makes the bubbles of Twitter look like a crayoned list.

choosing to send a Private Message on PlurkAnd the system is thorough, down to the Karma points. Perhaps thrust into the social media eye by Reddit and Mixx, the Karma system encourages participation and continued conversation.

But what about the spammers, you say? With any new network, inevitably comes spammers — but you have options! Don’t follow them!

Plurk presents options aplenty!

a Private Massages in the time lineYou can segregate Plurk friends by “Cliques”, sending only a specific group of people certain Plurks. Why Twitter never mastered that idea is absolutely beyond me. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to the number of Cliques you can create or participate in.

see all your updates in the time lineThis isn’t to say that Plurk isn’t lacking some features: The “unread reply” system can be quite overwhelming once you get a good little fan base going. You get alerted about a random reply to a thread posted 3 hours prior that you’ve already long forgotten.

Plurk message typesAn ability to limit conversational alerts by length of time, user, or even (especially) manually by specific thread would be most satisfying to eliminate discussion not necessarily relevant to you.

There is a “mark all as read” feature (a la Google Reader), but that doesn’t give me quite enough control; especially if you have 100+ messages pending, some of which may be important to look through.

Other tweaky little feature opportunities (which could be added as high Karma bonuses) are geolocation, the ability to have multiple expanded conversations open at once in the same window, a Firefox Add-on, et cetera.

Within a few short moments, several people, including myself, started playing word games with the name.

adding a photos to a PlurkSo we were Plurking all over people, Plurkaliscious, Plurkoids, Plurkitudinal, as well as being Plurked off, fairly Plurkificatious and Plurkified with joy. You get the idea, right?

Oh, the possibilities with Plurk!

Time-Line — night and dayLike nearly all new social networks, they bring with them new concepts. One such concept that struck me was the possibility of actually being able to start a meme and watch it fan out across your friends list.

Physically watching an idea grow and propagate out across your lifestream. In fact, that’s exactly what happened earlier today.

Here are some of Plurks pros and cons so far:


  • Quite unlike Twitter, user names don’t take up the text allowance in messages.
  • Messages (or Plurks) allow for a variety of different message types, not being restricted to what you’re actually doing.
  • Threaded conversations, similar to Pownce.
  • Use of a time line, that runs horizontally across the screen, with the past to the right.
  • Support for YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket et cetera, all within the timeline frame.
  • A quirky, but intuitive interface.
  • Being able to create Cliques, which are small groups of friends, where they can chat privately.
  • All new Plurks and responses are compiled for you.
  • A really slick Private Messaging system a la Facebook style; also when you hover over a Plurk, you’ll see a downward triangle beside the persons picture / name, which gives you a Private Messaging option.
  • Plurk uses Karma as a metric for people’s activity. As your Karma increases, more options / features are made available.
  • It’s possible to use Private Messages in a Plurk page as a separate conversation window, without the time line.
  • Scrolling through the time line supports the scroll wheel on a mouse, as well as the arrow keys.
  • It’s possible to edit Plurk messages, but not replies.
  • There’s a mobile option, which will be interesting for some.


  • There’s a bug with the Alert count, where it shows something’s there, but when you click there isn’t.
  • As more people come on-line, the whole thing begins to creak quite badly, taking ages to load. Plurk is new, so we’ll allow for these things for now.
  • It’s not possible to have multiple conversations open at once.
  • Despite support for mobile Plurking, there appears to be no support for geolocation / geotagging.
  • Could do with a “ignore future responses on this post” option (by user, by time frame, or by manual select)
  • Could maybe benefit from a Firefox Add-on, or a desktop client application.

As a social network, Plurk has huge potential. But that potential is potentially locked up elsewhere, on other services like Twitter and Pownce.

For now, the curious, the early adopters and the disaffected of the both Twitter and Pownce are presently populating Plurk, while everyone else ponders the prospect of becoming a Plurkoid for themself…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

15 replies on “What is Plurk?”

Nicely summed up dear friend!!! Unfortunately, getting work done on that fun interface is incredibly difficult – had problems getting de-addicted!!!

ANd yes the unread responses pile up if you have a lot of following!!!

Like the station though – its NICE!!

Awesome! I will have to link to this in the future. I just wrote about Plurk yesterday on my blog, but this is fantastic. I love reading everyone’s different responses to it.

Great summary, although I have not noticed the problem with the inaccurate replies count. But I haven’t counted them, either! 😉

Now, I must go and play with my friends in Plurkistan 😀

Great overview! Interesting you didn’t really discuss the karma system. I think there are definite cons to using a points system to encourage user participation and activity. I think the biggest drawback is “low value” or spammy Plurks and friends requests as people try to increase their Karma scores. I still really enjoy this one and I’m eager to see how it does. Time will tell how well it holds up under the load of new users, it’s handled a pretty major influx this week with reasonable agility so I’m feeling positive.

I’ve just started Plurking but it’s making me think I’m too old for this stuff…

I like Plurk, but I think my biggest gripe about the service is that there isn’t a way to import your Plurking Twitter contacts. Other than that, I’m really enjoying the interface.

I have just read your article about Plurk and I think that I will practice it in the future. I’m interested in it. Let me know about anything else which is connected with Plurk.

You know I have heard a lot about these short messages called Plurks. As for me for all this time I’m still using Twitter. It was very interesting for me to read everyone’s different opinion. And I think you have chosen a perfect way to follow the events of the people that matter to you.

Thank you very much for your article and I think that your information will be useful for my job. Before I and my friends we used to use Twitter for this functions. Now we have started to use Plurk.

i love plurking..
but if it doesnt let me plurk more than 30 a day..
its abit cruel xD
hope u guys gona let ppl plurk more than 30 a day..
its kinda fun for ppl who are bored here =Pp

I’ve been using Plurk, Twitter, and Jaiku, and I have to say, i find Plurk to be the most interesting of the three. The reply function is much easier unlike in Twitter where I don’t know which of my updates my friends are replying to! Plus they allow for a CSS layout which allows you to change it any way you want!

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