Because Plurk is wildly popular, there is a lot of talk about what past systems Plurk is similar to. These conversations are especially fun because the builders of Plurk have integrated so many different communications concepts into a single service, making use of the best parts of all of them. It is this integration of features, and the terrific GUI, that makes Plurk what it is.

There was a very long thread the other night about Plurk being a more modern Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC was certainly a cool conversation media, but it was missing most of Plurk’s features, and especially the GUI which combines so many features in one place. The similarities are there, but Plurk is to IRC what the space shuttle is to 19th century French hot air balloons.

My first thought when I joined Plurk was to compare it to the CompuServe CB Simulator, a service which kept me broke for several years in the eighties. But that was mainly due to the similar feel of the two places, the easy camaraderie and conversation. and the marvelous people that were / are in both places. The technology and sophistication levels are wildly different.

I have seen comparisons to email, forums, IM, old-style bulletin boards, and every chat system know to man. That makes sense, because Plurk has assembled the best elements from 25 years of internet communications and put them all in one easy-to-use interface. I have designed a lot of user interfaces and this is a really great one.

The most common comparison, of course, is to Twitter. Again, Plurk simply leaves Twitter in the dust. Twitter is stiff, formal, hard to have a conversation in, and consists mainly of a series of announcements, even when it works. Plurk is fun, conversational, and truly social, not to mention addictive. Very often, Twitter devotees don’t do very well in the stylized free-for-all that is Plurk.

In all of these comparisons, Plurk easily comes out number one as a communication medium. A lot of it is the user interface, and the additions of Karma, and all of the other cool things that Plurk has added. But the bulk of what defines Plurk is a brilliant selection of features and benefits from all if the internet and Web communications systems of the past.

Plurk is truly standing on the shoulders of giants.

I am KDFrawg on Plurk. If you see me, tell me what YOU like about Plurk.