Posted June 9, 2008 7:41 pm by with 15 comments

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The folks over at Plurk must have some really good Karma. How else can you explain the incredible luck associated with rolling out your new micro-messaging (I can’t bring myself to call it blogging) platform, at the same time your chief competitor (Twitter), has hit the application scaling wall and is experiencing severe service outages?

Any others getting tired of seeing a bunch of tweety birds lifting a whale? It was cute the first couple of times. Now? Not so much. Next time I see that thing, there’s gonna be a harpoon flying through my display!

Adding insult to injury, when Twitter is up and running (yes, it still happens occasionally), it is being consistently used to pimp broadcast and promote Plurk. The irony is striking.

Such are the problems when a company unexpectedly finds itself realizing too much success, too rapidly – as Twitter did. In response to a question on the Twitter blog, developer Alex Payne had this to say,

“My understanding is that Twitter started as a one-day project to explore sharing status via SMS…that Twitter would eventually evolve into a messaging system in its own right wasn’t conceptualized from the get-go”.

A one day project? Now that’s what I call foresight!

The bottom line? Twitter developers did not build this as an enterprise class application, capable of scaling to meet a dramatic increase in demand. Those in the “software know”, realize that core architecture problems are not something that can be solved overnight – no matter how many CPU’s you throw at the problem.

Conversely, it currently seems by both the robustness of the application (features & function), which far surpass that of Twitter and the relative stability of the application, that the folks at Plurk did have success in mind and they are currently capitalizing on Twitter’s failings, as disenchanted users go from a “Just another Twitter clone”, to an “I’m loving Plurk” mindset. Based on a quick survey (on Twitter), it seems that most users are still remaining loyal, however frustrations are clearly rising.

The race is on for micro-messaging world domination. Will Twitter developers turn a simple lark into a soaring eagle? Can Plurk hit one out of the plark?

What say you Pilgrims?

You can follow me on Twitter or Plurk. At least for now!

  • Personally I dont like Plurk – I prefer Twitters layout and usability, its easy and straight forward plus the API has generated some excellent applications.

    Though I must say they were quick on the draw when they introduced the twitter friends invite app

    rishil’s last blog post..Colorectal Surgery – Professor Sina Dorudi – Private Colorectal Surgery

  • They are two different animals.

    Plurk will never reach the saturation level that Twitter could possibly reach (if they can get there uptime handled properly) in my opinion because they have no API.

  • I saw this post via Twitter and I figured I would finally sign up for Plurk only to be greeted by:

    “Plurk is currently unavailable. We are working on bringing the site up again. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

  • I decided to check out Plurk upon reading this post. It looks cool and I was able to sign up but greeted with an error message when I tried uploading my avatar. 🙂 Hope they fix it fast.

    trexpenn’s last blog post..Trillian – A Messenger with Trillian Possibilities

  • I’m still thinking that Twitter is more familiar and user friendly than Plurk. And I still have no reason to find the substitute.

  • I’m scared to leave twitter as I’m building a following there, albeit a small one, but the growth has been rapid. HOWEVER, I too am SO OVER said whale. SO.

  • Sean Maguire

    @rishil – I prefer Plurk as well. Interestingly, Maki has stated that even though he has several thousand followers on Twitter, he gets significantly greater direct responses on Plurk. There’s definitely a marketing message in there.

    @Brian – I agree that they’re different animals. I still love the simplicity of Twitter. Plus, I only have the bandwidth for one time waster in my life. I just wish Twitter could get their act together faster. Plurk feels more light an air traffic control station to me. I do believe they’ll have an API in the near future.

    @Chris – The irony thickens! Go figure. Andy has already posted on it as well. Touche!

    @Trexpenn – Looks like you and Chris are in the same boat. It must be the Marketing Pilgrim traffic! 😉

    @Tiffany – You’re not alone. I think a lot of people are routing for Twitter to pull it together.

    @Natalie – Maybe you can help me “man the harpoon”! 😉

  • Sean Maguire

    Oops. Hit send before proofing. Corrections:

    @rishil – I prefer Twitter as well.

    @Brian – “…like an air traffic control station”.

  • The two are similar, yet different – but to answer the most common complaint, there is definitely an API at Plurk. Witness hellotxt and, both of which can post to the service. It’s just not openly documented (yet). I’m sure it will come.

    For a service that’s been rampant in the wild for a week-and-a-half, it seems to be holding its own. 🙂

    Chad Everett’s last blog post..The Real Secret to Plurk’s Appeal over Twitter

  • I completely agree with Tiffany. Twitter is mote common and familiar to me. Till now I’m not ready to replace it for Plurk

  • Plurk its everything Twitter should be…

  • I prefer Twitter, too. But Plurk has nothing less than Twitter…

  • Dittos to preferring Twitter interface and wanting to harpoon the whale. (But I figured some distant Indian relatives already killed their alloted one whale per year.)

    I received the same, Plurk crash upon signing up last week. Wondering how useful it would have been at SMX via phone?

    A friend just showed me his Plurk widget on a site, that is super cool. He’s using it to show a timeline of his daughter’s life.

    Yet, what is that Plurk logo? The bulls-eye target with the bone sticking through the body of an…elephant? Surely this turns off vegetarians, which I’m not, because I already enjoyed whale meat this year.

    Dana Lookadoo’s last blog post..SMX Advanced Awards – Who Won?

  • You are totally right that, Plurk will never reach the saturation level that Twitter could possibly reach.

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