I’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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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….