Plurk!

Twitter’s been down lately. Anyone with an account at the service will know that. The Web’s been abuzz with rants about the downtime, and while Pownce and Jaiku users have taken this opportunity to invite people to switch, Twitterers still can’t find a better service.

Until Plurk came along.

Yes, Plurk. It’s taking the Interwebs by storm and becoming a serious alternative to Twitter. How can it not be, what with its name (Plurk! Plurk! Plurk! I could say it all day), the funny headless pig cartoon, and the cool features that come with it. Many Plurkers (I guess that’s what we’re called) have been asking the questions: Is Plurk a viable alternative to Twitter and are you going back to Twitter or leaving it for good? In this post, I’ll explore the answers to those questions, so follow along!

What the hell is Plurk?

Plurk\'s signature headless doc and his companion creature.Plurk, my dear friend, is a microblogging service similar to the ubiquitous Twitter we’ve all heard of. I say “similar” and not “identical” because Plurk is so many things that Twitter isn’t.

Twitter presents updates in this fashion—boring, bland, plain. Sure, there’s a timestamp, but aside from that there’s really not that much to enjoy. Plurk is a different story altogether. There’s a timeline showing your updates as well as your friends’, people can reply to plurks (and replies are listed in a message board-like thread fashion), and there are smilies! There are smilies! You also have the ability to italicize your text as well as make it bold, and you can hyperlink your text. What else? There is a point system, called “Karma”, which allows you to obtain more smiley styles as well as other features. Twitter is schooled.

Is Plurk a viable alternative to Twitter?

In my personal view, no. It’s a superior alternative to Twitter. (That’s right, loyal Twitterers, bite me.) As I pointed out, it has so many features Twitter doesn’t offer, and it’s more interactive. I think its integrity has been tested already, seeing as how the site must have had a sudden influx of visitors craving for a better version of Twitter and still no downtime.

Although I want to outright say that Plurk is better than Twitter in that it doesn’t suffer from Twitter’s still-present downtime (IM still disabled, although pagination’s back for me), we really don’t know how the next few days are going to turn out. Maybe Plurk’s going to crash, but hopefully it won’t. For the time being, yes, Plurk’s better than Twitter.

Are you leaving Twitter?

It’s hard to say at this point. Aside from the old mantra “old habits are hard to break”, Plurk may reveal its darker side when the dust settles. Since Plurk is fairly new, its users are yet to discover the downsides of the service (CSS glitches, database crashes maybe). Only when Plurk is totally proven bulletproof can the gavel be slammed.

As for me, I haven’t left Twitter. Yet. I’ll tell you, though, that I’ve only tweeted once today, but plurked more times than I can remember. A slow transition, then? Perhaps. Let’s just say that there are two tiles—one for Twitter, and one for Plurk—and one of my feet is firmly on Twitter, while my other foot is slowly inching towards Plurk. That foot is testing whether Plurk can take the wrath of my plurking combined with tens of thousands of other plurkers, and tens of thousands more to come.

Conclusion

Otherwise vigorous Twitterers are invariably disappointed by the fiasco Twitter is going through right now, and I guess that’s why Plurk has appealed to them, or should I say us. Plurk, being fairly new, isn’t fully unmasked yet. Once we see its downside, we’ll be able to compare it with Twitter, and then we can make our final decision.

For the meantime, I suggest keeping your Twitter account. You probably have lots of Twitter followers who still check in on poor ol’ Twitter from time to time, and if you’re a blogger or have something to promote, getting your word out through as many media as possible is critical.

However, don’t forget to keep on plurking. (If you haven’t registered yet, do so now! It’s fun, fun, fun.) I’m curious to know what your thoughts on Plurk are. Let’s hear it in the comments section.

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