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Plurk Community: You’re Doing it Wrong

Image representing Plurk as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

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:
You're doing it wrong


  1. Niall Harbison

    I do agree that you have to listen to your community but look at Seesmic. They spent about 2 years doing nothing but listen to their community and they got a service that was totally messed up and didn’t work in any way. Sometimes you have to ignore what your community say and go with what you think works. Do Facebook listen to their community? Look where they are!

    Agree with your point though that all members should get an email and not just the people who heven’t been back in a while. That is just dumb

  2. Brian Wallace

    @Niall: thanks for stopping in. I’d say that Seesmic has made good on its community with Seesmic desktop – their web and desktop app versions seem to be stable and are one of the better multi user Twitter/Facebook updating tools. In fact, if you look at overall marketshare of Twitter apps, they are toward the top. And yeah, I still don’t get what the Plurk email was about.

  3. thatjonjackson

    i agree @nowsourcing, karma is the reason i left plurk. i actually made some pretty good and influential friends over there. (any of my old friends, i was @desigu so hit me up on twitter) anyway i’m with you on this post.

  4. Brian Wallace

    @thatjonjackson: it’s really a shame – had been a fun place to hang out – and its real-timeness. Alexa indicates that Plurk is still on the rise, but then again, Alexa lists Twitter as the 13th largest site 🙂

  5. Tanner Christensen

    Niall has a good point.

    These networks (and everyone else, for that matter) needs to remember: if you try to make everyone happy, you’ll only end up making nobody happy.

  6. Francois Talens

    Some influential people are still using Plurk for their career, but some losses their interest in Plurking. The karma results can be very discouraging to Plurkers out there. Imaging by just being inactive within a short period of time, you might lose your karma value. On the other hand, this can be a good strategy for the Plurk admin. At least they can push all Plurkers to consistently be active in plurking, otherwise, their karma value will decrease.
    .-= Francois Talens´s last blog ..Causes of Arthritis and Risk Factors =-.

  7. max celibataire

    I still use Plurk, and Im happy about it. The thing is, we can find so many different things today that there is one adapted to each of us. I think…!
    .-= max celibataire´s last blog ..Eviter les disputes, c’est dur ! =-.

  8. Brian Wallace

    @Francois: to be constantly Plurking is too unreasonable. Do you think Twitter would be as successful as it is today if you lost followers if you didn’t Tweet every 10 hours?

    @Max: so you don’t mind the whole karma issue?

  9. Net Age | Web Design

    What can I say – Karma is a bitch – it has just been proven so again 😉

    OK, jokes aside all I have to say is that if you do not listen to your community, and can not accommodate the majority of them with even a minor modification, then you’re doing something wrong. By demanding time in this manner you’ll soon lose your audience, and this is apparent in the sad tale of Plurk.

    Adapt or die, as it is a dog eat dog internet world out there. If you can not keep your audience happy they’ll find something else that will, and quick too. Crowds are notoriously fickle, even more so online, as they can communicate more effectively…..