Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

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Twitter vs. Plurk



The results are in! With 59 people voting, Twitter came out ahead by a very slim margin. Earlier today I was learning a new tool, PollEverywhere.com so I decided to put out a poll and see how things worked. I chose the question, which microblogging tool do you like best. I posted the question using Ping.fm to both Twitter and Plurk. Throughout the day, I put out reminders via Ping.fm to keep people voting. As the day went by, I followed conversations about the poll on Plurk. (There were no conversations on Twitter about my poll). Here are some of the comments and observations about the question and the two tools.

1. Many suggested that I should have included a "both" category. Almost all the people commenting on Plurk said that they use both Twitter and Plurk.
2. Many commented that they use Twitter and Plurk in different ways. Twitter is more give and take and not so much conversation. Plurk, according to the Plurkers commenting, is easier for developing conversations.
3. Some Plurkers felt that they felt more "heard" on Plurk. More people comment on their post than in Twitter.
4. Most felt that they needed both Plurk and Twitter because they have built a network that includes people who are only on one of the applications.
5. It was also mentioned that "The Big Boys" (besides Steve Dembo) are still talking on Twitter so people want to follow those conversations.

I find it interesting that the results were just about a tie. I have to say that when Steve Dembo introduced me to Plurk back in May or June, I was not very happy about the prospects of moving away from the great learning community I had built on Twitter. Twitter, which was also introduced to me by Steve Dembo about a year and a half ago, has been a huge part of my professional development this last year. I have made connections, collaborated on projects, grown from conversations and reaped a great amount of amazing resources. Twitter has been my "just in time" resource and I have sung its praises to everyone who would listen. I dutifully set up an account with Plurk back in June, but felt overwhelmed by it the first few times I attempted to follow the conversation. With the end of school, changing jobs, NECC and our vacation, I was just overwhelmed in general. I decided to put Plurk on hold and try it again after I got back from vacation. I have now been on Plurk pretty regularly for 2 weeks. Here are my own personal observations about Plurk.

1. I find Plurk more time consuming. With Twitter, I ask questions and make comments and then walk away for a few hours and then return. With Plurk, I feel that I need to be constantly checking what is new. Actually, Plurk should be easier to walk away from, because, unlike Twitter, you can go back and look at any Plurk at any time.
2. There are some great conversations and more intimate learning happening on Plurk. People are sharing their goals for the day etc. Plurkers are encouraging each other on their goals. Lots of great questions are being asked. There is even a book club discussion about the book BrainRules.
3. Plurker seems to be a bit more chatty. I think part of the reason for this is Karma. Plurkers are trying to keep up their Karma by commenting on everything.
4. Having conversations in threads is great for gathering ideas. I am working on my Professional Development site and I am asking questions about specific types of resources. I can go back to that question thread and reap the rewards.
5. I would love to have a way to easily check both Twitter and Plurk at the same time. I feel like there is a lot of cross posting.

So, I would have to say, at this point, I am still on the fence with Twitter and Plurk. I think both have value. But I think the value is in the people, not the tool. So as long as the people I have loved to learn from are camping on both sides of the fence, I will be both Tweeting and Plurking. Pin It Now!

9 comments:

Cory Plough said...

Great idea, and good story. Steve is full of it. I mean, full of good tools, isnt he? :)

p.s. - Steve, Im only kidding, you rule!

Carol Daunt Skyring said...

Thanks for the poll Martha - interesting (but not surprising) result. I second all of your comments above - that's exactly how I feel about both.

See you back on Plurk AND Twitter :-)

Kim Caise said...

Thank you for sharing. I too am torn. I use Twitbin to have Twitter in my sidebar and a tab open for plurk so i can see both at one time. People are starting to use Ping.fm, Hellotxt and other services to post the same post to Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, etc all at one time. The main reason I use Plurk is the flow of the conversations that I have with my followers. We get in depth and into deep threads of conversations at plurk that is nowhere near possible by Tweeting or responding to a blog. Which is better - for me both.

Lisa Parisi said...

I agree with much of what you said. Plurk takes more time than twitter. But many of the conversations on plurk are conversations I don't really care about or in which I have time to engage. I also find, that after approximately two weeks on plurk, I don't care about Karma anymore. I am now there for the learning. One more thing, I have already set up three collaborations that came directly out of plurk conversations. That rarely happened in twitter. Perhaps it's because there is a greater connection.

Steve said...

First of all, let me say I resent all the fat jokes. I may be a "Big Boy" right now, but I'm slimming down! :)

But seriously, that really is an interesting poll, and I may do one of my own as well. I'm finding that there's definitely more quantity on Twitter, but the quality of the posts and conversations on Plurk is much better. I think it's pretty obvious why though. Structure and threaded conversations really help.

Thanks for the article!

IMC Guy said...

I think you hit it on the head with this post. Both are great tools, but for me, are used in different ways. Sometimes, I put the same comment/question out to both Twitter and Plurk, but in most cases, use them separately. I like the conversations in Plurk but don't plan on leaving Twitter any time soon.

Nadine N said...

Thanks for the poll Martha. It was interesting. Although many will stay committed to twitter, Plurk fits my needs better, and although it's great to see what the "big boys" (that Steve is so silly...) are saying on Twitter, I value the PLN I've developed on Plurk and therefore will continue to use this tool to have those conversations, get support and feedback, and make me a better educator.

Lori Feldman said...

I think the same poll should happen again, say mid October or so, when school is in session! Thank you for your organization!

Martha said...

Thanks for all of your comments. Lori, I like the idea of doing the same poll (maybe adding the both choice) in October to see what happens when school is in session in the US. And Plurk has had more of a chance to take off or flop.