Plank is a networking site based on the idea that asking and answering questions brings people together. But can this simple site compete with dozens of other ways to learn new information about others, such as Facebook quizzes?
Asking and answering questions is a large, if not the biggest part of our communication. It's a way to get new information, express thoughts and show interest, and questions and answers applications are very useful as parts of general social networking services. Plank attempts to build a community using that one feature.
A new user creates a simple profile and gets a couple of questions to answer. They are later published on the profile, and the list can grow and become an interesting record of that person likes and dislikes.
The 'follow' feature allows people to see what other users answered, and this way, learn more about them, or post questions to them whenever they want.
The site can be connected to Twitter and Facebook, so the questions and answers will appear on the other user's profiles.
But can Plank stand alone as a social network, or be used only as an addition to FB or Twitter? Probably the latter, since it's really difficult to create a network of friends. There is a search box, but it will only guide the user to other profiles if he enters the username or email address of another user. There is no way of browsing profiles freely, or comparing answers to the same questions, to find someone with similar opinions. Lack of free browsing possibility seriously limits the user's actions, and the likeliness of creating a thriving network of friends.
In order to get more people to ask questions and make the exchange more lively, the user can link Plank to Facebook - which just appears as a status with a link to the Plank site. This might evoke a response, and get FB users to post some questions, but will not help to create a network on Plank.
The site is very simple, and Twitter inspired. The users can customize profiles in a limited way, add backgrounds, change color settings etc., but the basic design of the page stays the same. This is a good thing, because the pages stay clear no matter, how the user decides to change them.
Plank could be an interesting site, if it added some more functionalities. At the moment, a new user can answer to some sample questions, and that is basically the end of his activities, unless he starts entering random names into the search box and following all other users. Plank could get inspiration from Plinky, which is also based on the questions principle, but is much more lively and user friendly.