I remember when Plurk first came out. At first glance its user interface was different but once you got to spending some time on the site, it was pretty cool. As luck would have it, Plurk also came around when Twitter was having some of its worst downtime in history. Take that, and some nifty enhanced features (conversations on one page, ability to share images and video, dancing bananas 😉 and it seemed as though Plurk really could have taken over the microblogging space.
But it didn’t.
Why? I would offer that Plurk ultimately didn’t listen to its community. Perhaps the dealbreaker for me and others was the fact about not making karma optional. The nature of many on the social web is to be competitive, and Plurk gave us a forum for this. The more active you are, the more karma you received. However, if there was a period of time that you were inactive (say, you had a holiday, a weekend, religious reasons, etc) you would actually lose karma. A number of people brought this up, but Plurk stood firm, saying that if you didn’t want to see karma on your profile, you could just hide it out with a different page design. That’s a band-aid to the problem.
I was thinking about keeping quiet over this situation, that is, until I received an email from Plurk last week talking about the Plurk activity I’ve missed for the week. After seeing this, I chatted with Teeg, a friend of mine and still staunch supporter of Plurk. She said that she didn’t get the email! This is a community fail on the part of Plurk to target the Plurkers that are not participating, rather than the ones that are.
So Plurk, I didn’t want to say it, but you’re doing it wrong: