Plurk is a social network that takes many familiar tools and redesigns them. The website provides users with a place to upload images, personal details and other content to a profile. User can also customize the color and style of their profiles. The application lets users post status updates, just like Facebook and Twitter. Others can respond, favorite or forward the status to others. A “Like” and “Meh” button are available, which are the Plurk equivalent to the thumbs up and thumbs down button. Statuses can include links, videos and photos as well as text. Users can add friends and build a list of fans. Users can earn stars on their profile for recruiting new Plurk users. Ten new users awards a silver star, 25 awards a gold star and 50 earns a red star.
Plurk was founded in January of 2008. The application was developed to provide a better way for users to communicate with friends, family and followers. The site was designed to incorporate many popular social networking features, including Twitter’s 140 character status limit. The application was officially launched on May 12th, 2008. While it has received some attention and maintains an active community, it has a very long way to go to come close to other well-known social networks.
Plurk’s main attraction lies in its user profiles. The application utilizes many of the same features that Facebook and Twitter already offer. In fact, some user might go so far as to say that they almost ‘borrowed’ them from the sites. The profiles are the key element that makes some users try Plurk. The profile contains he same elements, but positions them horizontally rather than vertically. The status timeline appears across the top half of the profile and slides smoothly as the user moves backwards and forwards by date.
Plurk uses a relaxed, simple design that offers a clean but minimal landscape for users to get started in. The user profiles are the real eye candy. The style of each profile varies based on the themes the user chooses to apply. The timeline at the top of the page can be clicked and dragged left and right to reveal more dates. The status updates appear below in rows. The design can be a little confusing for users who are accustomed to Facebook and Twitter, but they offer a sleek, new way to display user profiles.
A new user can click the green “Sign Up for Free” button near the upper, right portion of the Plurk homepage to begin. A pop up box appears and asks the user for a nickname, first and last name, email address, password, gender and date of birth. The user is automatically signed in after submitting the form and can begin customizing their profile, adding friends or posting status updates.
Plurk offers all users to sign up for its network at no cost. Free is pretty much what users would expect, considering the many hugely popular free social networks that are already available. The application doesn’t offer a new or innovative service that would warrant a subscription fee. Users who want to find a Facebook and Twitter alternative may find Plurk appealing and can give it a try at no cost.
Plurk is a social network best suited to user who aren’t interested in Facebook or Twitter. The application offers many features that those networks provide, so there is little reason for a new user to switch if they are happy with their current profile. The horizontal status timeline is a nice touch, but is really more eye candy than anything else. Plurk has the makings of a good social network, but that could be because it borrowed those elements from the networks that invented them.