Test Driving Plurk

I saw news about a potential Twitter competitor, Plurk, on the Download Squad. The feature that enticed me is the support for cliques. I am curious to see if that is like filters in LiveJournal. I have signed up, username is “cmdln”, but so far have been able to do very little.

If you are not burned out on social networks, sign up and add me so I can give it a real workout for a review. The one thing I already noticed that I like is the ability to delete an account, so the risk here seems pretty minimal.

Here’s what I have learned, so far.

I have noticed that there are no third party clients. There is no mention of an API that would allow such. There is a mention in their FAQ of planned SMS support, in roughly six weeks. I was unable to get IM working with either of my GTalk accounts. It is unclear how the advanced features, like sending to cliques, would work with IM as opposed to the web interface.

The privacy policy and terms of service seem pretty unremarkable.

They already have a mobile interface. Sending to cliques does not appear to be supported from this interface. It is impressive that there already is such an interface but I found the fact that after sending it did not return to the timeline and they only link for doing so is labeled, “explore”, to be a bit confusing.

I am not sure about the more graphical interface of the web site. Part of the appeal of Twitter is its simplicity. I will reserve judgement until I have a bit more info in my timeline though if I have to keep staring at the default color scheme, I may not give it even that long.

The service has already met and dealt with its first usage spike. Apparently Leo Laporte, Robert Scoble and Mike Arrington have already mentioned it so have driven some unexpected traffic. According to the development blog, the staff handled the spike and are already thinking about how to better handle the load issues that have bedeviled Twitter. This remains to be seen. I have yet to figure out what technology the site uses to be able to make an broad observations about how it might scale.

I am tempted to write the developers for more info but am unsure whether the service is distinct enough to see it survive for long in Twitter’s shadow.

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