Plurk is one of the more intriguing lifestreaming sites out on the World Wide Web right now. Launched in May of 2008, it takes the basics of Twitter and dresses them up in a snazzy interface, throwing some pretty interesting features into the mix.
Why "plurk"? The name alone sparks curiosity. According to Plurk’s creators, there are four ideas behind this catchy name. One is People + Lurk – yes, people do lurk online. Second, it is an amalgam of Play and Work, touching on the fun side of plurking. Third, it is an acronym for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, Karma. Lastly, there is the potential for becoming a coined verb, just like "google".
Now, Plurk users call themselves "plurkers", the act of posting is called "plurking", and the post itself is called a "plurk". Very, very catchy indeed.
So what makes Plurk so much different from Twitter and why do plurkers love it? Here are the top 5 reasons:
1. Threaded Conversations
This is probably the number one feature plurkers love. When you post an update, your friends’ replies can be seen under it. Replies don’t get lost, and friends can read and answer to each other’s replies, turning it into a stimulating discussion. There is no clutter because the conversation only expands when you click on the original post.
2. Unique User Interface
Plurk splits the screen into two parts. The upper section contains your timeline, where all your plurks appear, arranged by the time they were posted. What makes the timeline unique is that it scrolls sideways. You scroll right for the past, and left for your most recent plurks. Scrolling is done either through the arrow keys or the mouse’s scroller.
The lower portion is the dashboard, which contains your info, userpic, friends list, and the post entry box.
3. Karma Points
Plurk addicts live for karma points! Karma points rise based on your activity and the responses of other plurkers to your plurks. More karma gets you access to extra features like additional emoticons or changing the image in your page’s Plurk logo. Getting over 80 karma points means you’ve reached Plurk Nirvana and nets you a shiny badge for your page.
Plurk gives you the freedom to personalize your page. You can choose from built-in color templates, install CSS codes from third-party Plurk layout designers, or create your own.
One significant Plurk feature is privacy control. You can open your plurk to the world, limit it to friends, or have a private conversation with a single individual, all within your timeline. If you want certain plurks to be read only by specific people, you can group your friends into cliques, and then specify which clique can read your plurk when you post it.
Twitter still has the edge when it comes to third-party applications, page rank and plugins, but Plurk is more personal, more fun, and more close-knit. Users who admit that they use both sites say that they post mostly business or news-related shout outs on Twitter, while going to Plurk to have fun, goofy conversations with friends.