Ok, as I am writing this I realize that I am hungry. You know they say to never shop when you are hungry, well lets add blogging to that list too. You are probably thinking that I misspelled Orkra but really I didn’t. I meant Orkut. Let me explain what I am talking about and no just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, Orkut isn’t even food. It is (well, was) a social media platform.
I know you are probably sick of my musing about social media but it is a subject that I find incredibly interesting. Social media has taken over everyday life. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I limited my social media intake for Lent. It has taught me that, in the words of Christian Louis Lange, “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”
When we hear the words social media we automatically think of the big 3 or 4 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. What we need to remember is that these platforms are not the original social media giants that paved the way for the social media that we know today. How many remember Friendster (circa 2002), MySpace (circa 2003), Orkut (circa 2004), Yahoo! Buzz (circa 2008), and Google+ (circa 2011)? I know there were others but these were the ones that I could remember growing up. Where have they all gone? Other than Google+, they are all dead. Kicked the bucket. Traded in for a newer model, quite literally.
We know what happened to Friendster… it was replaced with MySpace. MySpace was replaced with Orkut and Facebook. Yahoo and Google… well they were replaced by Facebook too. But what happened to Orkut? Well it’s demise was a lack of, what I will term as artificial intelligence. The Orkut platform just could not keep up with its users.
Time for my nerd glasses, and pocket protector to come out… you knew there would be a history lesson in here somewhere, didn’t you?
So Orkut was started in 2004 by Google. The premise was that you could search for communities based on key words, locations and people, similar to what we can do with the search function in Facebook. Within 4 months, Orkut had over 50,000 communities… Yep that is correct 50 THOUSAND. By 2012, it grew to 30 million users. What makes this platform unique is that unlike Facebook, it was really all about who you knew. To gain access, a user had to be invited to join… talk about exclusive. So with such a huge exclusive user base what happened?
Well, did I mention that the large majority of the users were from Brazil. Strict marketing restrictions made Orkut the ideal platform for reaching consumers. Orkut couldn’t keep up with the desired functionality. It was not evolving to meet the needs of the people. Don’t you just hate it when pages get blocked? So did Orkut users. Limit my friends list? Are you kidding me? I can never have too many friends. Inefficient loading and sharing of my awesome selfies? Oh, that just won’t work for me… Therefore the demise of Orkut. Facebook for the win… it can do all of that and tell me what political party I should be affiliated with. (Oh, yes it does. Under Account Settings / Ads / Your Information / Your Categories / US Politics)
So back to my original point about technology… Do you think that if we, as consumers, weren’t tied to social media that Orkut or even MySpace would still be in existence? Would we demand more from our social media, like needing those emoji’s added to our Facebook posts, or being able to do live streams of events? Perhaps, if we focused more on the human interaction and less on our techie persona that maybe it wouldn’t matter which social media platform is still in existence. As a person and a marketer, I believe that I am at a crossroads… do I use social media to reach my target audience? Or do I go back to the basics and just talk to people and build relationships? Or maybe the answer is a mixture of both? What are your thoughts?