Remember when we were all on Twitter, dumping our thoughts and ideas 140 characters at a time and having the time of our Internet lives? No? Well I do. That’s why I’m currently marveling at the war raging on for microblogging supremacy in the Filipino community. Well, in my mind at least.
Whose side are you on?
I find it astonishing to see Plurk being overrun by Filipinos. A few months ago, the majority of Filipino plurkers consisted of bloggers, web developers and online marketers who made the great switch from Twitter to Plurk approximately a year ago. Now, Plurk is the new deal among the Filipino Internet literate crowd. Also, Facebook. But that’s a blog post for another time.
Plurk’s charm is slowly dying on me. I’m starting to update my Twitter more often now. Internet gods help me, I’ve entertained the idea of moving back to Twitter permanently and leaving Plurk altogether. Fortunately, I haven’t seriously thought of actually doing it since, you know, it’s not really a big deal. I’m totally considering adding several items to my Plurker’s Manifesto, though. But yeah, there’s the itch of just sticking to one microblogging service where I can tell you guys what I’m eating, where I’m going or what TV show I’m currently watching but secretly hating.
Being on the fence, however, doesn’t mean I don’t have anything valuable to share to you people new to the microblogging world or you people considering leaving the service you’re currently using. There are several factors in choosing which service you will bless with your brilliant one liners with, but for me, there are 4 factors that are of paramount importance.
THE PEOPLE YOU FOLLOW
The thing I love the most about this whole microblogging business is the knowledge sharing. I love getting breaking news and interesting links. It’s like having other people fetch information for you without having the need to bribe them with food or sexual favors. This is why it’s important that you follow the people who you think will be able to bring you the knowledge and wisdom you fancy.
In Twitter, you have a lot of people to choose from. You can follow news sites, blogs, celebrities and experts in different fields. In Plurk however, your choices are limited. Most of the Internet celebrities on Plurk aren’t even there to stay. They’re just there testing the Plurk waters. The best you can hope for is the abundance of prominent local bloggers, which isn’t bad. If you want an extensive selection of people to follow and if you’re OK with not interacting with them often, Twitter’s your microblogging man. If you want a more intimate knowledge and wisdom sharing experience, go with Plurk.
THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW YOU
If you think this isn’t a big deal because the people who follow you will not really affect your microblogging shenanigans, think again. People who follow you might be stalkers or snitches for people who want to drop a piano on you. Worst, they might be unruly dickheads with no class who have no problem ruining your day by asking if they can add you on Friendster.
In Twitter, the crowd is a little more mature and, dare I say, “professional”. For now. Sometimes, though, they get a little too “professional”. I’m looking at you, shameless online marketers and soulless bots! Fucking annoying, I swear. In Plurk, boy oh boy oh boy. The last couple of months have been ugly in terms of new signups. At times, you can get an avalanche of friend requests from 13-year olds wH0 tYp3 LyK dI$. I’m sorry to say, it all comes down to what kind of followers you can tolerate more.
On the surface, this is where Plurk trumps Twitter. Threaded conversations make discussions easier to follow. Plurk functions as a cute mini forum board slash chat client with this feature, and that’s why some people are turned off by the service. Having threaded conversations makes Plurk prone to a lot of nonsense and spammy emoticon-filled replies.
Twitter offers you one mega timeline that contains all the updates from you and the people you follow. Direct/private messages aside, all of your Twitter conversations are in your mega timeline. ALL of it. If you prefer to frequently post updates and just occasionally engage in conversations, Twitter’s lack of threaded conversations won’t bother you.
In Twitter, you can set your timeline to private. That means your updates won’t be appearing on the public timeline and only people you approve can see them.
In Plurk, you can do the same thing. Plus, you can apply these settings to individual updates if you choose to leave your timeline public. This means you can choose which updates are visible only to your friends or to a specific group of your friends (via the Clique feature), leaving the rest of your plurks public. Clearly, Plurk gives you more control over your privacy. Then again, if you don’t really care who sees your updates, it wouldn’t matter.
THE BOTTOM LINE
You wouldn’t really know which service will give you the better microblogging experience unless you try them both, so what I recommend is that you sign up for both services and give them a whirl. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up using and enjoying both Plurk and Twitter at the same time. You two-timer, you.