Meet Plinky, an eclectic Q&A service

Looking for inspiration on something to blog? Check out Plinky, a new service that offers up something new for you to answer every day.

At the intersection of questions-and-answers services and social networking, Plinky is opening up to everyone Thursday. It offers up daily assignments called "prompts" for users to fill out, then share with others, be it on Plinky or on their existing social networks and blogs. Plinky isn't limiting the media type or format for responses, so users can submit photos, videos, and written responses, all of which goes into one big feed.

Some examples of the questions that have already been posed to users include "name three songs you'd put on a road trip mix tape", "defend your vice", and "what's your favorite live music venue?" The three-songs one in particular is kind of neat, since you can look up the track and link it up to Amazon.com, where other people can preview and purchase it.

After answering any prompt you have the option to export your creation elsewhere. Right now the tool works with most major blogging platforms including WordPress (.com and hosted blogs), Google's Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, TypePad, and Xanga. There's also a quick-post option to both Facebook and Twitter after submitting your answer.

A question and its answers on new social Q&A site Plinky (click to enlarge) CNET Networks

Other than answering questions, the end goal of Plinky seems a bit unclear to me. From my use of it earlier today I can tell you that it will definitely appeal to folks who like those boxed question-and-answer games. You know--the kind where you're supposed to learn more about others by answering what's asked of you on the cards.

The folks behind Plinky, including former Googler and LiveJournal exec Jason Shellen, who is now Plinky's CEO, want it to be more of a highly focused publishing tool that people are going to come back to again and again.

To extend that idea of stickiness, Plinky pulls a card from Twitter and FriendFeed by structuring internetwork relationships with subscriptions. You can subscribe to other people's Plinky feeds by simply following them. Doing this lets you whittle down the public stream of prompt responses down to just those of your friends. You can also keep tabs on these feeds via e-mail notifications.

Ultimately what's going to fuel people coming back are the prompts. Users can create and submit their own, which get sent in for moderation. The site is currently publishing just one new prompt a day, although users can cycle back through older ones to fill them out.

While Plinky is being innovative by trying to be both a social network and publishing tool at once, I think it's going to have some stiff competition from sites like Polls Boutique, I Beat You, ThisMoment, and Fluther , which are already getting people to jump in and fill out content that can be ported elsewhere.

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Software
About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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