Last weekend I wrote a mini-review about the microblogging site Plurk and how I didn't necessarily see the value that its users had been touting. This did not go over too well with Plurk fans. I listened to their feedback and figured if so many people were passionate about the service I owed it to myself and to them to spend a bit more quality time using it. So on Thursday evening I abandoned Twitter and threw myself into some conversations on Plurk. The experience left me, well, eating a bit of crow.
I still think that Plurk needs to mature a bit (an available API, better conversation tracking, improved methods for adding and finding contacts, etc.), but I have now witnessed the service's key differentiator -- multidimensional conversations. With Plurk users can see more than just one side of a conversation from a person they happen to be following and they can immediately engage in a conversation with a number of new or even already trusted people. Plurk threads also allow for embedded images and enhanced features that other microblogging services have yet to provide. All of these features have paved the way to some remarkable conversations, some with as many as 300 responses, about issues pertaining to everything from business practices and hot news items to health issues. This is something from which not only individuals can benefit, but also businesses (again, I eat a bit of crow here).
A small group of Plurkers -- Mack Collier, Connie Reece, Deb Robison, Amber Naslund, Beth Harte, Tim Jackson and Michael W. Jones -- got this concept early on and began formalizing what they called "Plurkshops", which are essentially scheduled conversations among Plurk community members around specific set topics. Last week, David Alston of Radian6 was a panelist in a very successful Plurkshop around measuring the effectiveness of social media. These conversations have grown to be so big that the Plurkshops are currently being hosted with CoverItLive to ensure better event management but the majority of the participants are dedicated Plurk users.
This week, I have been invited to be a panelist in a Plurkshop on security and microblogging. I will be joined by my friend, Adam J. O'Donnell, Ph.D., of Cloudmark, an anti-messaging abuse company. If you're free at 6 p.m. PST on Monday, please join us for what poses to be a very active and interesting conversation about how to protect yourself against microblogging security issues -- and what the services themselves need to do to better protect their users.
You can also hear me admit, firsthand, that I was wrong about Plurk.