Longtime readers of The Viral Garden will recall that last Summer, I was hot n heavy into blogging about Plurk. How I loved the site, the community that had embraced its quirky features, and yes, the game-changing threaded conversations.
But the other day I visited Plurk for the first time in literally months. And quite honestly, I doubt I will be back anytime soon. The site didn't look that much different, and offered all the functionality I and many others enjoyed when we first discovered the site last June.
So what changed?
The people changed. What made Plurk so enjoyable for me last Summer was that it was not only offering a lot of functionality that Twitter didn't, but more importantly, most of my network was there. Most of the people that I wanted to stay in constant contact with, came to try out Plurk last Summer when Twitter was having its all-too-frequent outages. But as Twitter gradually got their issues sorted out last year, my network began to migrate back to Twitter, and away from Plurk. At some point late last year, I had to make the tough choice to all but abandon Plurk, because by then almost all of my close contacts were back on Twitter.
There's an important lesson here for social sites such as Plurk and Twitter: You don't need to just get my attention, you need my network as well. You need to not only give me a reason to try out and use your site/tool, you then need to make it as easy as possible for me to encourage my network to come join me. Because at the end of the day, you can have all the cool features and shiny functionality you want, but if my network isn't using your site, why should I?