Life in <140 Words

I missed real blogging. By “real” I meant having these long long paragraphs full of diarrhea and word vomit instead of the seemingly regular ones that do not exceed 140 words. As you should know, I used to be a constant blogger. I maintained my Blogspot site religiously during high school and made sure that I bombarded my Multiply journal during college. For American Idol and deep insights, I had (and still have) my Livejournal blog. Everything changed, however, when the new trend of microblogging arrived.

According to my best friend, Wikipedia:

Micro blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to write brief text updates or multimedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user.

I initially found microblogging to be too demanding. Since one had less than 200 characters to fill up, not posting regularly would result to an ~incomplete experience with incomplete stories and lengthy gaps. Through the help of other people though, I was able to see the light! I realized how revolutionary the idea is. It’s simple and closer to reality as it encourages jotting down of thoughts in realtime instead of remembering one’s ideas at the end of the day for a summarized blog post. Like what I told people who I tried to get into microblogging, it’s like one big YM conference where you can see what ~everyone is saying and how ~everyone is responding. Though microblogging encourages my sentimental streaks and my emo eloquence, I still find it to be an amazing tool to get to know others and also one’s self. Beware though. As microblogging gets people to reveal more personal things such as when one is eating, where one is, and the like, even random strangers may follow your amazing life if you don’t set your account to private. I used to have public microblogs but then I had to resort to privatizing them due to the numerous people I do not know who wanted to follow me and due to a friend of mine’s hobby of fearlessly laughing at my posts without me knowing as he doesn’t have an account. Haha.

In line with the topic on the recent trend, I have decided to compare the two main microblogging tools that I use (based on my personal preference, of course) to help you decide on what to get (or if you have them all, what to keep and focus on).

1) Twitter

This is probably the most famous microblogging tool out there. Even foreign (Kris Allen, Taylor Swift, Martha Stewart) and local (Bianca Gonzales, Jim Paredes, Lea Salonga) celebrities  have their own Twitter accounts! I guess I would have to attribute it to the fact that it’s easy to use and it is generally pleasing to the eye. Add to that the various ways that one can update or “tweet” which is through the web, SMS or e-mail. More hardcore users like my practicum boss enjoy the open platform which allows developers to build on top of the Twitter platform, thus the birth of Tweetdeck, Twhirl, and other Tweeter applications like quizzes and statistics trackers. It also allows easy replying (though one would have to get used to remembering others’ usernames) using the @ functionality. The trends and search features are placed very well and aid in letting the users know what’s happening around the globe. (Yes, “Ateneo” trended once!)  There are three things that I do not like about Twitter, though. First and foremost, I find the interface to be unfriendly as it gets strenuous to look through my friends’ updates when I hit the 150 following mark. Things get buried down the page and I often miss out on the important tweets. Secondly, the direct messaging capability hurts so much. It’s just disturbing that people I follow can send me a direct message but I cannot respond through a DM due to the fact that they do not follow me. (It hurts more if it’s a celebrity who sends me a DM!) Lastly, as Twitter is text-focused, the random links that appear when one shares a video or a website do not really appeal to me. More often than not, I just skim through such tweets and do not dare to click on the links–afraid that they might be spammage or virus-related.

2) Plurk

[from Techipedia]

Plurk is not necessarily famous throughout the world. I have yet to understand why but the Philippines, my country, has been smitten by this amazing Twitter alternative. I attribute its fame to three main things: (1) karma, (2) the timeline, and (3) threaded conversations. One thing special about Plurk is that the users are directed towards a certain goal called “Plurk Nirvana”, which is attained through getting a high karma and this is measured not mainly by the number of Plurks that you post but by the regularity of your updates. Perks of having a high karma include additional emoticons like the now famous dancing banana. It’s basically a rewards system (which Filipinos apparently enjoy) and I would love to tell you all about my initial addiction (Plurk karma) but you can learn all about it here. The interesting interface adds to the charm of this site. You have the timeline on the top part of your screen and your dashboard at the bottom. The timeline idea which scrolls from left to right (present to past) is plainly genius. It is very ~realistic and relatively new. The simplicity of the general layout of the site is superb. I did not have a hard time figuring out how to privatize certain Plurks or edit my profile or change my picture even when I was just starting. The threaded conversations feature is probably what keeps me hooked with this site. It keeps the timeline uncluttered and at the same time helps in making sure that the replies do not get buried. Do not fret, however, as there is a “mute” option if you want to stop getting updates from a certain Plurk. A main problem we have faced with regards to the site, however, is the lack of a timeline search for one’s own account. A friend of mine suggested that there be a way to go to a certain date or a certain month to lessen the pain of clicking on the arrow thing to scroll through the timeline especially if you have gazillion Plurks like me. Finally, Plurk does not use an open platform, thus one cannot really aid in the development of it but this is not a problem for people like me who just want to be heard and hear from others as well.

Both sites offer awesome features but like most people say, Twitter is not Plurk nor is Plurk the new Twitter. The two sites, for me and for most people, differ in terms of purpose. From my random epiphany just a few moments ago, I infer that Filipinos enjoy using Plurk due to its communal nature. Plurk facilitates online mini-discussions and easy responses that may be just composed of a dancing banana or a headspinning smiley. Twitter, on the other hand, is more of a me-informing-you tool which is very close to the Western culture.

Thus, it is up to you to decide which to pick and focus on. If you ask me, however, Plurk has won my heart. And you don’t even have to worry about your Twitter account ’cause Plurk offers you a cross-posting feature. ;)


3 thoughts on “Life in <140 Words

  1. reichub says:

    This is actually a nice post, I’m an avid twitter dude myself, I like how it bombards me with so much info with a minimal usefulness factor. This proves that microblogging is here to stay.

  2. tif k says:

    Meki!! Ako rin at first I thought I wouldn’t like twitter at all because of the 140 characters but then friends started to join and celebrities too so LOLZ! naadik :P Yah you’re right, twitter is more of an informing thing. I actually described plurk that way to my friends! haha Parang YM conference lang :P
    I do like plurk better but twitter gives me celeb news so… haha! I’m still waiting for the day a celeb will reply! LOLZZ =) haha.
    nice post!!

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