What? Another Blogging Buzzword?!@$

Let’s face it. Most of us reading this will have a blog. I’m sure all of us belong to at least one social network (Facebook, MySpace, etc.). I will bet that a small number of us belong to a micro-blogging service. Micro-blogging is starting to explode all over the place. There are two main ones out there right now (at least in my not so humble eyes) that cover opposite ends of the micro-blogging spectrum. There is the now infamous Twitter, and its complete alter ego called Plurk. I would like to introduce you to Plurk, as I feel it has something that Twitter does not lend itself well to: extended conversations.

Plurk sets itself apart in many ways, but the first thing you will notice is that it is not oriented top to bottom like a normal web page. Instead, Plurk completely ignores the way the rest of the web works by having a left-right timeline instead. At first, you think this is one of stupidest design choices you have ever seen. However, once you get used to it, it actually works quite well.

Plurk also introduces the concept of “karma”. Basically, the more “positive” things you do, the higher your karma will rise. The more reciprocal friends you have, the more involved discussions you participate in, the more people you invite, and more will help to add to your karma. Unlike something like Twitter, it does encourage you to actually participate and not just pimp your blog about your cat all the time. As your karma rises, you also unlike the ability to change your profile design with more exclusive designs and more.

As stated before, Plurk lends itself to more extended conversations and you will find plenty of very serious conversations going on at any time. Plurk does have its quirks. It is missing the one and only feature I truly miss from Twitter: the ability to update by text messaging. However, by the sounds of it this should be coming soon. Since there is more actual chatting though, it’s not super necessary as it is with Twitter. The orientation of the timeline will take some getting used to as well.

So do you really need yet another site to keep an eye on daily? The one thing I will say about Plurk and Twitter is that I have found a lot of like minded people and definitely set up some business contacts on both systems. Look to see more from Plurk and all of the other micro-blogging services in the mainstream very soon.


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