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A Plurk Christmas Carol

December 25, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a headless dog. Now, this headless dog hated the holidays, because he could not smell the wonderful smells that everyone else could, could not enjoy the wonderful holiday TV, and could not even sing/bark Christmas carols with his comrades. One year, the one-eyed monster thought she could cheer up the headless dog by turning herself into a bouncy ball for him, but to no avail. The headless dog wanted desperately to play with the one-eyed monster, but games he had enjoyed before were now totally void. How was he supposed to play Fetch with no mouth?

It wasn’t always like this. Before he was headless, he was known to be a complete gentleman, giving out dancing bananas like candy and using qualifiers like they were going out of style. However, he had never recovered from losing his head. “Don’t go losing your head now,” people used to say to him. Since that had happened, that had been replaced with “At least you’re still alive! Look at that delicious and moist cake!” For some reason, people thought that cake was an appropriate substitute for losing a head.

Year upon year, the headless dog grew more and more depressed. “Bah, Plurkbug!” he was known to mutter around the holiday season. The headless dog enjoyed causing havoc on Plurk, causing irregular karma drops, random periods of downtime and being mean to the other Plurk mascots. He stood on the tail of the lizard, convinced the cat to gobble up the many-eyed fish, and kicked darts at the winged creature.

“What’s wrong with him?” Plurkers whispered to each other before the headless dog flew into a fit of rage and caused another bout of downtime.

This Christmas Eve, the headless dog was sitting in his kennel, plotting how to ruin Christmas for every plurker, when something strange happened – for a second, he thought he had seen the face of his creator, Alvin, reflected in his water bowl.

The headless dog shook himself. It was getting late, and he must’ve been tired.

However, a few hours later, there was a great commotion outside his kennel. The Great Angel Alvin appeared in front of the headless dog’s kennel and proclaimed, “Lo and behold! I am the Great Angel Alvin, Master and Creator to all Plurk creatures worldwide…” The headless dog gave a large sniff of disgust. This dude makes him headless, but he still gets to be an angel. How was that fair? Ignoring him, The Great Angel Alvin continued, “Tonight, you will be haunted by three spirits; the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. It is the only way you will escape my fate – being shocked mercilessly by Rammi’s taser.” And without any further explanation, he disappeared.

“Bah, Plurk -” the headless dog attempted to say, but could only get out the first syllable. There was nothing left to do now but wait.

When the headless dog woke again, he saw the Great Angel Janet motioning him to get up. Begrudgingly, he followed her. In an instant, he saw what his life was like before he wasn’t headless, his first encounter with a dancing banana, and most importantly, an ostrich Plurk mascot he’d fallen in love with. Everything was going well until he was made headless, and could only wallow in his own-self pity. He could only watch as he saw her say for the second time, “I can’t be a Plurk mascot any more,” she had told him. “Your only thoughts are revenge on those you believe have wronged you.” And she left him. “Take me away from this place!” The headless dog screamed, and woke up in a cold sweat. He wondered what Plurk staff member the next spirit would be.

But it wasn’t a Plurk staff member who next appeared to him. It was a terrifying amalgamation of discarded Plurk creatures over the years. This creature took him into the homes of the other Plurk mascots, who were all sharing Christmas gifts. “Bah, Plurkbug,” the headless dog muttered.

“Oh, if only the headless dog could be with us now,” said the lizard. “What, so he can throw more darts at my head?” sniggered the winged creature, and they all laughed at him.

“Imbeciles! They wouldn’t dare to do that to my face! Oh, but they look so happy together!” cried the headless dog, before being brought back to his kennel once more.

The headless dog was now dreading what the last spirit had in store for him. He didn’t want to see what his actions had done to those around him. Nevertheless, the Ghost of Christmas Future, also known as Kan, appeared. The Ghost did not speak, but expressed itself in a variety of emoticons. And as he stretched out his cold dark hand towards the headless dog, all the headless dog could feel was darkness.

Kan had brought him to a Christmas feast, where many plurkers were waiting for the main course to be served. The headless dog could only watch as an all too familiar body came into view. “Hey, at least we won’t have to worry about downtime so much now!” A Plurker reached for the headless dog’s leg and bit into it. “Mmm, he tastes better dead than he did alive…” another gave a sigh of delight. Soon, the whole table was full of murmurs and appreciation for the headless dog’s carcass.

“Is this what will be? Or is it only what may be?” the headless dog begged Kan. But Kan being Kan, gave no response, and the headless dog was left crying at his water bowl.

“I will change!” the headless dog resolved to himself. “I will not forget the lessons these spirits have taught me. I refuse to be a Christmas meat.”

When Christmas morning hit, the headless dog gave the lizard a new tail, offered the cat and fish some catnip and fish food, and apologised to the winged creature. Everyone was astonished to see the transformation in him. But what could he give to the plurkers to repent for his past sins?

“I shall give them unlimited karma, so that they are no longer limited at 100,” he proclaimed with pride.

And so, from that day forward, the headless dog became known as a dog who was proud to be headless, and a dog who kept Christmas well. Plurkers and Plurk mascots lived in complete, blissful harmony… Forever.

Posted by Rammi

Early retirement for IM and Plurk Lottery

December 7, 2010

Over the years we have experimented with different features and product enhancements on Plurk. Some worked pretty well. Some didn’t. IM integration and Plurk Lottery didn’t.

We measure the success of our features by looking at different metrics but they mainly come down to user engagement (how many people are using it? how often do they use it? Are they happy with the feature?) and extensibility (is it hard to maintain? does its existence align with the core purpose of what we are trying to achieve in near future?).

Regrettably, Plurk Lottery and Instant Messaging perform poorly on these metrics. As a result, we will be retiring them come this Friday. As we plan to release more interesting features over the next coming months, the removal of these features will hopefully introduce more breathing space for the newcomers to shine without overcrowding existing user interface.

We apologize if this causes any inconvenience for our users.

Posted by alvin

A little update

October 19, 2010

It’s been a while since we last updated our blog. We thought some of you might be interested to know more about what we have been up to, our grand plan for the future and when we are going to give out free karma points (never!)

Thanks to you, Plurk has grown steadily ever since it launched two years ago. Having spent zero money on marketing, we greatly appreciate the power of word of mouth our passionate users have given out. Watching our traffic grow makes old farts like us giggle happily. Every time. As the viral effect grows, it is important we work hard to make sure the site is up and as responsive as always. For that we want to apologize if you have enjoyed less than satisfactory experience lately. It will get better, trust us.

Here are some self-absorbing charts you didn’t ask for.

Simultaneously, we have also been working on some cool stuff which shall remain confidential for now. Christmas is still two months away.

I also want to take this opportunity to discuss one of the questions we have gotten a lot lately – how is Plurk going to make money? Some of our users are concerned about our monetization plan, or the lack of it, and worry about Plurk’s viability and survivability in this great wild world of social networking. There were even talks about a donation pledge of some sorts (awww that is so sweet!). All I can say is we are working on this and it doesn’t involve bombarding you with obtrusive ads or selling our kidneys.

We are also expanding our Asia team with these recent new hires:

Danny Lin, Managing Director, Asia Pacific
Danny comes to us with a wealth of experience and is a well-known figure within the internet startup circle in Asia with more than 20 years experience in the online space. He was one of the founding members of Google Taiwan, working as Country Lead Product Manager for both Google Taiwan & Hong Kong markets. Danny led the effort to drive and manage all Google products in the Taiwan and Hong Kong markets as well as leading several global projects and helped to boost Google’s growth by more than 40% in Taiwan and overtook major competitors in Hong Kong within just a few months.

Prior to that, he worked for 3+ years as Head of Communications Products at Yahoo! Taiwan and led a team to launch some of the most popular web products like Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, Flickr, etc. His achievement on Yahoo! Messenger has became a legend amongst the global teams. He is also currently a guest lecturer for the Department of Information Management at Chinese Culture University (文化大學).

Chengda, Developer
Chengda worked for Gigamedia (Funtown) as a Manager in R&D department before joining Plurk. He has 10+ years worth of experience in internet technologies, ISP services and the casual game industry. At Gigamedia, he designed and developed a UNIX-based platform for casual games and led the design of a “micro-transaction system” to assist virtual currency transactions. He also designed a virtual reward system to support virtual item campaigns for online games. He also developed an auto-provisioning system and network management system for ADSL & Cable Modem services. In a nutshell, he builds awesome infrastructure for social gaming platform.

Victor Lin, Developer
Victor fell in love with programming in junior high school. He also fell in love with Plurk. After he submitted a patch to a project Amir was working on, we asked him to be our intern developer. He majors in software engineering. He also designed, built, and currently runs a free online radio platform web-site http://now.in. He likes to hack on open source projects when he’s not busy working with us. You may find some of his codes on his blog or Bitbucket profile.

We are always looking to fill the team with awesome hires. If you know someone, or if you are THE ONE, send us an email.

Here’s the No-Bullshit summary: Plurk traffic is going up. The Plurk team is expanding. We are aggressively hiring. We are still not profitable. We are working on our monetization offerings. We are sorry for the recent uptime performance. I still like cheesecake.

Thank you for plurking.

Posted by alvin

Plurk Worldwide Sunset

September 9, 2010

20100623 Sunset
The above photo, by Plurking photographer Dave77459, was shot on the 23rd of June this year during the second Plurk Worlwide Sunset.

The third Plurk Worlwide Sunset will be on 23 Sep 2010 and we would be very pleased if you would join us in this event. You can join us on flickr at the Plurk Worldwide Sunset group and/or you can leave a link to your own images at Plurkfiends. On that same link, you will find a slideshow of all the images in the flickr group to-date.

The event is held around the world at sunset wherever you are – make photographs, document your experience and share it with the world. You can find your own sunset time via this handy calculator.

Have a look at the suggested links and if you think this is something that you’d like to do, we’ll be happy to welcome you to the 3rd Plurk Worldwide Sunset.

Rantz
Darwin, Oz

Posted by Rantz

A Plurky wedding

August 23, 2010

Last week, I was invited to a wedding. A three hour train ride up to Newcastle from London later, and I was able to watch Danni and John tie the knot (and be a witness! SQUEE)!

Why is this significant, I hear you bleat? Well, it’s because I met these two on Plurk some time ago, and now love both of them very dearly. Danni and John met on Second Life before Plurk existed, so they truly are an internet couple. What did we do after the wedding, the invisible voice in my head asks again? Well, we dined on pizza, drank too many alcopops (or that might have been just me), ate up the Portal-themed wedding cake, and played Rock Band, where I *ahem* “treated” the newly-married couple with an awful rendition of Still Alive. A fantastic day (but not for those who heard me sing).

Plurk friends of either Danni or John have been able to watch their relationship blossom from the very first plurks about it (and all the cuteness in between), to the announcement of their engagement and subsequent marriage on here.

I thank Plurk for introducing me to them, and wish them many, many years of purple-tinted happiness.

Posted by Rammi

happy one year plurking!

August 19, 2010

I was at my friends house that time when I knew about Plurk. I was curious about it, but at first I did not really get how that (Plurk) website works.  Because it was really different. Maintaning a Karma and getting Karma points, getting to scroll it horizontally.  Then finally I made an account. At first I was not really into it, then I started plurking more. Even though at that time I only have at least less than 10 friends. And there was only one who was responding from plurks.

One thing I love about Plurk is the emoticons. Especially the banana emoticon. I love it! It’s so cute :)

Many things happened because of Plurk. Well, it really helped a lot to get close to my crush :) Really it did. It was one of the way I talk to him. Haha. Now, yeah we’re doing OKAY ;). But not all are good ones. My two friends got into a fight because of their conversation at their Plurks. It was sort of misunderstanding.

Now, it would be almost a year I’m using Plurk. I’m happy having these social website. I won’t get tired of using it.

Thanks. Keep it up Plurk :)

written by Jamie Matienzo, 17, from Pasig, Philippines. http://www.plurk.com/akosijamiehaha

Posted by alvin

Plurk makes summer cool

August 8, 2010

Dear Plurk/Plurk Team,

I love plurk. I am able to connect with my friends through this social networking site! Plus, I love it’s cute, fun and unique layout! The timeline idea is GENIUS. I enjoy scrolling the timeline and check what my friends are doing so I am updated with their lives.

Plurk helps me a lot when it comes to communication with my friends whom I only see once a year. There’s this summer camp of a certain oraganization and I was invited as a guest. I made a lot of friends there but unfortunately, I only get to hang out with them every summer camp which only happens once a year. Then, when I learned that they have plurk accounts… I WAS SO HAPPY! Until now I am updated with their lives and we are able to strengthen our relationships with each other. Distance isn’t much of a problem now because of plurk :)

Summer doesn’t seem so boring too because of plurk. I am able to talk to my friends and we always have fun conversations here :) As a matter of fact, we’ve made so many LOL moments here! (lmao) *hahaha*

I am now currently in the Karma 100 Club and no, I am not leaving plurk just because I’ve reached the highest karma. I’ve so much fun here and I’ve had so many relationships strengthened here. I love plurk and I’m having so much fun! CONGRATS PLURK!

Sincerely,
Chinleli

written by Frances Vista, 16 from Philippines. http://www.plurk.com/Chinleli

Posted by alvin

At first I taught plurk was just another micro-blogging tools aside from Twitter…

July 22, 2010

Hi there! Plurk has been a essential role model for me and I would like to share on how Plurk shaped and transformed my life.

At first I taught plurk was just another micro-blogging tools aside from Twitter…but I was wrong, on 9th Oct 2009, I joined Plurk and began exploring the world of Plurk.

Plurk gives me the opportunity to share ideas, learn new stuffs which I cannot experience it from other tools. I learn how to communicate and keep in touch with my friends!

As a student/freelance designer and a programmer, I often offer my help to design some Plurk layouts for my friends. I would update my plurk with announcements when my new design was out. My plurk friends was always supportive and their would share their ideas, critiques and comments so I could improve my skills.

Plurk has opened its doors to a whole new level and It has taught me valuable experience and knowledge, getting to know friends from plurk helps me to improve myself and also learning their cultures, language and their lifestyle.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank Plurk for bringing us this wonderful tool! Without you, I won’t be as successful as I am today! I hope you continue to grow and to be the best micro-blogging site in the world. All the best and Good Luck!

Regards from Kendrick, Malaysia
(Now studying in Australia)

written by Kendrick, 22 from Melbourne, Australia. http://www.plurk.com/house88kend

Posted by alvin

From Winnipeg with love

July 15, 2010

Hi! I read your plurk entry about sharing love to plurk, “plurky stories”. So I grabbed this opportunity to share my story with you guys.

I am now in Winnipeg, Canada. Our family migrated here last January 2010 from the Philippines. It was very hard specially for me to move here because all my friends were in the Philippines. I don’t know anyone here and we’re like starting life all over again.

I am very close to my brods and sisses from our organization, The CPS Triangle. I always chat with them about anything under the sun. I am always updated with the new gossips about everyone. So, being here made me so lonely, and envious because they’re all together. I really miss them.

But thank God there’s Plurk! Using plurk is like talking with them about anything. All the new gossips and updates about them were all there. We teased each other there, did heart-to-heart talks through private plurk, and shared our happiness and sadness with everyone. I still have the chance to bond with them. That way, my feeling to be with them, in a way, lessen. So thank you Plurk.

I hope you continue doing great things here in Plurk. Good luck and more power.

written by boodz, 20, from Winnipeg, Canada. http://www.plurk.com/vidamay08

Posted by alvin

I love Plurk !

July 5, 2010

Plurk_alanbird

Yes, I love Plurk ! And most of Taiwan’s Plurkers would probably say the same: 我愛噗浪 !

噗浪 (sounds similar to ’pu-laun’, laundry without ’dry’), the Chinese name of Plurk, was possibly translated by initial users according to its pronunciation and then officially recognized and used in common. It has, no doubt,   become the most popular micro-blogging tool in Taiwan, and the rest of you may be aware of that Taiwan has taken the Plurk’s No.1 place in terms of traffic volume and number of users. No matter how big the other SMS products are all over the world, Plurk is still the favorite here!

July 1, 2009, I registered Plurk. And today, one year later, I’m here to confirm what has come to my mind… As you may see the Picture* I pasted above, it’s just what I exactly feel about it! Looking at these fascinating and unique creatures, each of them is cute and special. But they do exchange ideas, information, or even innovations over the community. No matter what, they share values, sorrows and happiness altogether.  So, I come up to get known new stuff and make new friends. Plurking has become essential for everyone in everyday!

In Taiwan, I guess the importance of Plurk is now something more than Facebook, Twitter, or local blog services would be. And the users among us would seldom use MSN, or even ignore those messengers because of Plurk. It’s hard to say in detail why Plruk is so popular here, but almost everyone uses it, takes the most advantage of it for any purposes you may think of. It’s neat, easy, user-friendly as well as multi-functional. Not only to put words, make a hyperlink, but to upload and/or post a picture; or share a YouTube video with a click!

The Timeline designed, which I may write another page for it next time, is also the key function making it powerful and value-added. If we say the Internet is the best place to learn and share, then Plurk is the best tool for it!

BTW, it’s July 1st.. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to CANADA ! !
We appreciate you guys making such great services possible from there…  ^^

*The Picture:
I adopted it from the Plurk official site as it appears at this moment,
and fixed it a little bit to make it perfect for this picture story.

Written by alanbird, from Taipei, Taiwan, http://www.plurk.com/alanbird

Posted by alvin
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