Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Why are users leaving Plurk?

I signed up to Plurk, the quirky microblog that allows threaded conversations, shared photos, links and videos, more or less at its launch and I've been a staunch supporter ever since, despite the fact that it's a rather odd looking beast.

But lately Plurk has gone into a decline, and now it seems as though it's really starting to fail in earnest. Last week a Plurk friend, Rob, became the latest user I've seen to question its problems.
On his blog he asked the question Plurk No Growing. Why? on his blog and polled whether it was Plurk's 'karma' gimmick that was holding it back (66% said it was a turn-off).
Others complain "Plurk is too time consuming w/ the web interface", "Lack of promotion", and "as nice as threaded conversations are in theory, in practice, they don’t really work in a Plurk/Twitter-like service".

I know some people get seriously annoyed when their kama falls(and consequently their emoticons are reduced) when they fail to use Plurk for a day or so but I'm not sure it should shoulder the full blame for what seems to be this site's slow death.

I think the reason more and more people are posting messages like this...



... is the very thing that everyone got excited about in the first place... the ability to hold threaded conversations.

I have a small core of Plurk mates and a wider circle of friends whose conversations I dip in and out of.
I steer clear of threads that I know are just going to get nasty (anything regarding Israel at the moment) as what starts out as a reasoned debate always - and I mean always - descends into open hostility. Likewise, people who once got perhaps 135 responses for saying 'morning Plurk' and now get perhaps 10 (probably because there are so many users saying 'morning' it's frankly boring to respond to everyone) and then post disgrunted messages about how the service has deteriorated.

Finally, Plurk has been incredibly buggy lately; messages post twice or not at all, the timeline works sporadically and is still not searchable, and it all feels a bit clunky.
I'm still using it right now but it feels like it's withering on the vine. For an online social network that had such promise, it now feels like it's in a terminal decline.
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