Plurk Brings A Breath Of Fresh Air To Microblogging

Twitter may be the king of the 140 character-limit hill but with it being down more than it is up, it is nice to have options. Pownce was seen as a possible “Twitter killer” offering a more stylish interface and a bevy of additional features like nested replies (keeping conversations neat and tidy) and embedded media options. But it says something when one of the main people behind Pownce, Kevin Rose, flings his Twitter address all over the place. It’s a real shame because Pownce is better organized and even includes a business model. Too bad it’s a virtual ghost town compared to the fluttering Twitter community.

Dead Twitter

Plurk is a similar service with a unique visual twist. Instead of reading your messages in a linear stream, Plurk displays your correspondents on an attractive timeline. Each Plurk can be directly responded to like a mini-forum eliminating the barrage of @ responses that comes with Twitter. Taking a page from Facebook’s status update feature, Plurk lets you specify an action like “is”, “likes”, “thinks” etc. which are uniquely colored similiar to the popular Twitter mashup Twistori. The site tips the scale when it comes to AJAX effects with lots of fading modal windows but provides a rich experience for consuming the stream of information presented before you.

Plurk Timeline

The two most unique features that Plurk brings to the game are Cliques and Karma.

Cliques in Plurk are just like Cliques in real-life: an exclusive group of people. Plurk lets you separate your friends into different groups so you can better filter messages coming to you. Cliques also let you send out a message to a certain group of people so you can keep your messages to your family hidden from your group of co-workers.

Karma is a community status indicator so you can easily spot the active members from the passive on-lookers. Your score is calculated every day and is influenced by you and your friends Plurk activity as well as friend referrals. It’s a pretty clever idea by the site creators to help build buzz by giving a useless number to try and grow. Think of it like a score in a video game.

Plurk is still missing an open API so other people can build apps on top of the service and mobile support so people can send Plurks in while they are out and about. But Pownce was in the same boat when it first launched and adding those features hardly helped it’s market share. The real test will be if Plurk can attract the hordes of Twitter followers because microblogging services like this are only useful if the people you know (or want to know) are part of the game.

Oh and the mascot is a dog without a head.

Plurk and the headless dog.

Follow me on Plurk, Twitter, Pownce, and a bunch of other social services.

Twittertale And Politweets: Two Twitter Mashups

Four local area DC Developers (Doug, Gabe, Jason, and Min) got together and created two excellent Twitter mashups that were released this week. weeds out public tweets that have swear words and then highlights them on their school room inspired site. It also keeps track of the top 5 naughty words as well as the users who indulge in the most sailor talk. As of this posting, @bumblebunny looks to be an interesting person to follow. As an extra twist, I think the swear words should be censored with *’s leaving the audience to guess what swear words were being used. takes the same concept from Twittertale but applied to U.S. Presidential candidates. The two major political parties are seperated out and the political candidates are ranked in the middle based on the number of mentions on Twitter. This is a neat way to extract data from such a large body of political commentary and the guys certainly nailed the design with a gorgeous yet simple layout.

I decided to contribute a tweet to both sites at the exact same time…

One Tweet To And