Both social networking site, Orkut and Facebook, were launched in 2004. I find this interesting as I look at the two sites together and their obvious similarities, especially as Orkut shut down in September 2014 and Facebook is still going strong.
Orkut was popular in Brazil. Its “original purpose was for users to find communities through keyword search, including titles, description, and browsing through other users’ memberships (Spertus et al., 2005)” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.191). Orkut was a site that restricted membership, mostly “popular among technology workers and students (Recuero, 2011)” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.191). This is one of the first differences that we really see between Orkut and Facebook. Although Facebook originally began as being used mostly by ivy league students, by 2006, it “was available to anyone claiming to be above the age of 13, regardless of whether or not they had an affiliation with a university” (Jones, 2015).
Despite the one difference, these two platforms actually have more in common than initially believed. Orkut and Facebook have the following similarities:
- Clean interface
- Privacy concerns
- Limit the number of friends
- Online shopping
Now, I said Facebook had a clean interface. They’ve recently made changes to their interface, which allows users to choose between a white and black background. For a long time, users had the option to maintain the original interface. Recently, that changed and Facebook pushed users into choosing one or the other. This hasn’t been something that has gone over well with a few of my friends, although it hasn’t really bothered me. I don’t really notice a different.
Then there’s the privacy concerns. If you have a Facebook account, then I’m sure you’ve heard from multiple people stating they got hacked. Orkut on the other hand “put privacy concerns first and foremost (Recuero, 2011)” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.191).
Before I get into the last two similarities, let’s jump back to one of the differences. Orkut allowed its users to rate one another “based on how sexy, cool and trustworthy they found each other (Recuero, 2011)” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.191). The only thing Facebook gives you the option to rate are pages. Otherwise you have the standard response of like, love, care, sad, angry, and laughing emoji.
Then you’ve got online shopping, which is something both sites offer. Honestly, this part shouldn’t come as a surprise since Orkut was created by a Google employee. Not to mention, “Brazil has emerged as one of the strongest markets for online retailers, ranking as the fifth largest online market in the world” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.191).
That isn’t the part that shocks me. It’s the fact that part of what led to Orkut’s downfall is the fact that it limits the number of friends. This is where it gets really interesting because even though Facebook does this as well, it wasn’t the only thing that caused Orkut to die out. In fact, there were also “blockages” on the website, “and difficulties in loading and sharing photos (Translate Media, 2015” (Mahoney, Tang, 2017, p.192). The fact that Orkut couldn’t continue giving its audience what it needed, it isn’t difficult to see how it fell short and eventually got replaced with other social media.
Though, it does make me wonder. As Facebook shares several similarities, are the differences enough to keep it going?
Jones, M. (2015, June 16). The Complete History of Social Media: A Timeline of the Invention of Online Networking, History Cooperative. Retrieved November 8, 2020 from https://historycooperative.org/the-history-of-social-media
Mahoney, L.M. & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. 191-192.