Orkut, is that a brand of french fry?

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?

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Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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?

 

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Photo by Lachlan Donald on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Orkut, is that a brand of french fry?

Add yours

  1. Ah, I still remember Orkut as clear as day. It was beautiful. It felt so much welcoming than the professional ones we have today. Seemed chilled like a club zone to be at. Its use was so much, that the corporate places we worked at started putting network blocks to prevent accessing it. Orkut was shut down so that people could shift to youtube, google plus, hangouts and more. It was fun though. Getting pins and needles remembering about it.

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  2. Hi Stephenie,

    First off, your blog post title made me laugh! 😉 I really enjoyed the way you transitioned throughout your post as well as the comedic bits. Your writing style engages the reader, which is a critical aspect in capturing an audience’s interest in the high content social media world we are immersed in (as we have learned throughout this course). Now, to reply to the actual content itself. As you discussed, unlike Facebook, Orkut could only be accessed by users who were invited to the platform. While Orkut may have initially peaked consumer interest by implementing the element of exclusivity, this strategy oftentimes backfires because people feel left out (Sutter, 2011). According to the Forbes article, “When Should A Website Launch As Invite-Only,” the following three main reasons why a startup would not follow an invite-only approach are as follows: “more users, more customer feedback, and it’s easier” (Steimle, 2013). For instance, “the more users you have, the faster you’ll get feedback that will help you continue building your site the right way” (Steimle, 2013, para.10). Conversely, Facebook has remained an open platform for all users, which has provided them the necessary feedback to continue improving and growing. Unlike Orkut, Facebook has also ensured it has had sufficient resources to handle its customer capacity and the desired functionality its customers desire.

    Lastly, you pose interesting thoughts regarding 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?” To answer your question, if we were not tied to social media at all, Orkut, MySpace or even Facebook would probably only be operating with limited user access. This is when a membership-only tactic would be ideal because it would simply be targeted toward those few members of society that saw value in a social media platform. However, if you meant to ask, “Do you think that if we, as consumers, weren’t as tied to social media as we are that Orkut or even MySpace would still be in existence?” I would argue that as consumers, we will always continue to demand improvements and added features in the technology we use (or any product/service for that matter). Even if we were not as social media focused as we have become, Orkut would not have survived because it simply could not adequately fulfill customer needs in any of its markets. In the U.S., its server capacity was not enough, and in Brazil, it could not offer basic features that were vital to its technology driven audience. Nevertheless, as significant as social media has become in spreading one’s message and content with others, building relationships will always be the key to success. Whether it is creating these connections online or offline, identifying one’s audience and understanding their needs is essential to building these long-lasting relationships.

    References

    Steimle, J. (2013). When Should A Website Launch As Invite-Only? Forbes. Retrieved from
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2013/05/20/when-should-a-website-launch-as-invite-only/#2d0af0866905

    Sutter, J.D. (2011). Anyone want a Google+ invite? Sorry … CNN U.S. Edition. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/06/30/google.plus.invites/index.html

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