What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Plurk is a free "microblogging" and social networking site that's very similar to Twitter. Users post short updates (called "plurks") to their pages through the Web site, their cell phones, or IM. "Plurkers" (users) can choose from a range of privacy settings and can block other plurkers from viewing their profile or adding them as friends. Users can curse or make sexual comments since there are no filters, but the site offers a helpful guide to plurking safely.
What's it about?
The popular social/microblogging site Twitter has spawned a number of spin-offs, including the user-friendly PLURK.COM. As on Twitter, users can post updates of 140 characters or less to their profile pages, using the Web site, their cell phones, or IM. "Plurkers" can find friends and follow them online, and create "cliques," allowing them to limit messages to a certain group of friends. There's also a rotating list of "interesting plurkers" from around the world to browse. The biggest difference between Plurk and Twitter is information design: Twitter's "tweets" appear in a blog-style list, while "plurks" appear on a horizontal, scrollable timeline.
Is it any good?
Plurk's unique timeline design is a nice touch that makes it both visually appealing and interactive. Users can click on a plurk (which looks sort of like a Facebook status update) and visit the person's page, respond to the post, or find plurks that share a common verb, such as loves, wishes, or thinks. The privacy settings give plurkers a range of options -- they can even keep their profiles completely private, making Plurk more about self-expression than socializing. So far, the Plurk community seems a bit tamer than Twitter's; still, it's best for older teens and adults.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what's safe to post and what's not (e.g. "prnts gone, party @ 123 main st tonite!!"), and why it's a good idea for teens to limit plurking to friends only. How do you know if you can trust someone enough to make them a "friend" so they have access to your private information? Families can also discuss what's a reasonable amount of time to spend using Plurk, since it's very easy to get carried away.