Jun 11

Why Plurk Will Fail


I like Plurk. It’s fun to put out a message and then have all subsequent threads neatly organized underneath. It definitely needs an API and a way to track @replies, but it is a neat tool. I was excited when it first came out.

Why then the harsh title, you ask? Plurk rewards us for Plurking and punishes us for not Plurking by using a “karma” system. Go to an important meeting for a day, have a fun day with your family, save a homeless shelter from being torn down. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t Plurk, Plurk lets you know that they are not happy with your Plurking activity and take away Karma points.

People should not feel obliged or punished for not wanting to use a social network. That’s just silly. It’s like the mother who always whines at you for not calling. Come on now, sometimes we get busy, and it’s hard to call you as much as you want us to because you are retired and we are not.

What is the result of this plurking karma nightmare? Karma obsessed goobers with nothing better to do than Plurk any dumb idea that comes to their head. Uh, sorry you don’t have a lot of followers on Twitter and have resorted to something else. I still do not care what you have to say.

I do give props to Darren Rowse from Problogger. He uses it, but doesn’t abuse it. There are others like Connie Reese and Omar Gallaga who pop in once in a while, but their Plurks are vastly outnumbered by plurking nightmare people. What’s kind of nice is you can stop following your “friends’” plurks without actually taking them off and thus risking the incitement of a Plurk war. God forbid.

That is not a community. That is a competition without money or really any benefit whatsoever. What a Plurking nightmare.


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  • http://ceezer.org Cesar Torres

    Someone somewhere (on Plurk maybe) called it the web 2.0 pyramid scheme. Totally agree.

    See you Friday!

  • http://thatwebmuck.com Matt Buck

    They could probably benefit from some kind of reputation scheme that goes beyond the carrot/stick model. A lot of social networks could use that sort of thing. You should check out savingtheinternetwithhate.com.

  • http://twitter.com/ggroovin @ggroovin

    Hm… Yeah, I saw that & thought it was pretty weird. Have to say, though, I believe Plurk is likely to fail more due to having an unfriendly/complex interface rather than the Karma thing.

    Personally, I hate using it for that reason. Perhaps if they had an open API someone could figure out an alternate interface like they have with Twitter like Twhirl & Twitterific.

  • http://bhamterminal.com/ Andre

    It’s sad that the conversations that could be happening over there aren’t yet. There are more concerned with getting karma than finding some cool discussions to get involved in. I think the rumored new karma system may make some of the folks who just want to “get it all” realize the system’s intent. Hopefully they’ll reward us on depth and not quantity.

    You can always hope…

  • http://www.brainofshawn.com Shawn Powers

    I think the karma deal is more of an annoyance than anything. I get to see other people’s banana bombs, so I’m good. :)

    The lack of API is a killer though. Give me a Plhurl client, and I might be able to keep up better. The web interface is huge, and tough to use in the background. (I’ll give you a dollar if you can use the standard Plurk interface on my EeePC)

    If it does survive, it will be because like you say, you can stop seeing “friends” stuff. Nice feature. Funny that we need it. :D

  • http://michellesblog.net Michelle

    @ggroovin Agreed. Without an API and access to something like TWhirl, I cannot justify keeping up with this social network. Gotta have a life!

    Matt, ya perhaps something that allows users to secretly rate others or something. I have no clue on that one. I just know that the frequent Plurkers are not always the most merit worthy.

    Frankly, I think too many people abuse Twitter with utterly boring conversation too. My fear is that I’d tweet that I’m being strangled, and it would get lost in Scoble’s tweets about eating an ice cream cone with the Gillmor Gang.

  • http://launchpadcoworking.com Julie Gomoll

    I enjoyed Plurk for a few days. At first I even thought it might be a Twitter killer. Not for long, though.

    The ability to have threaded conversations seemed like a great idea, but the noise level got really high. I’d check in and there would be hundreds of unread replies, many of them in response to plurks like “please comment on this.” In real time, the threads felt more like chat, which is fine, but it’s a completely different experience than Twitter.

    And the karma is a brilliant system to hook the obsessive users. I just don’t have time to go there.

    Twitter is fun, but more importantly, it’s become a valuable tool. I’ve stopped following the collectors (I have 998 followers! Please follow me so I can have 1000!) and the consistently inane (we’re all inane from time to time :). I’m left with people who make me think, make me laugh, point me to interesting things, and jump in to help when I have a question. I can’t imagine Plurk getting there.

  • http://jennifersreport.blogspot.com/ Jenntex

    This Karma think is precisely why I will probably not recommend that the organization that I work for not employ Plurk in our social media plan. It has some nice bells and whistles but there are a few things that make it a bit too “silly” and not respectable enough to use in our business.

    But I will probably keep using it for fun until i get tired of loosing Karma

  • http://www.themoleskin.com Kelsey Ruger

    The noise level on Plurk is really high. I think the problem is that people aren’t letting the Karma system work the way it naturally would. Without knowing the actual strategy involved here is what I think the creators of Plurk thought – People will interact with their close or extended circle of friends, sharing common thoughts and ideas. People’s karma will go up natually as they participate in conversations.

    What really happened is they tapped into people internal need (whether they acknowledge it or not) to be popular. People do odd things to be popular.

  • http://otherdeb.wordpress.com otherdeb (Deb Wunder)

    I suspect that it won’t be the karma thing that give Plurk it’s biggest problem, but that it will fall more to the twin issues of signal to noise ration, and people discovering that playing there has begun to impede actual productivity.

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