The death of orkut

Wednesday 11 August 2004

First I read on Bob Congdon’s site about Orkut being taken over by Brazilians. There’s nothing wrong with Brazilians outnumbering Americans, but they seem a bit too eager to join seemingly random groups: the Brookline Massachusetts group has 75 members, 7 of whom live in Brazil.

Then Adam Greenfield writes up what many have been thinking in Social networking sites: a postmortem:

Let’s start with the indisputable fact that they introduce awkward social situations that did not otherwise exist, or were at least far less explicit.

In a few years, we’ll all look back on this and laugh...


Why, what's their motivation for joing a Brookline group? There is the slight possibilty that those seven all have ties to Brookline, but it seems more likely they're spamming or scamming people. Or am I missing something? Is there some other motivation or benefit for joining random Orkut groups?
Yeah, I can't imagine why they do it.
I'm not familiar with this Orkut group in particular, but joining an online group based on a location that you are not _physically_ located in, online, makes perfect sense to me.

Just like it makes sense to many/most people to join their various alumni groups- versus going back to the school itself and signing up for more classes, just to identify. Maybe those people grew up in Brookline, and moved to Brazil. Maybe they went to college in Boston and lived in Brookline, then returned home to Brazil, or are considering moving there, or it's their only connection to the English speaking world on the net, etc. Maybe they want a job, in the US, and rely on their only network connections they have. Isn't that the whole point to being online, to engage people you wouldn't otherwise have been able to connect with and meet in person? (conveniently, or at all).

How many Native American Indians are members of the Brookline group? Whatever tribe was there before the Pilgrims? Would it all be more legit then?

If someone wants to find me, Orkut is one way for them to get ahold of me if they don't have my current contact info. They can take a stab and say, I know this person likes the video game Street Fighter 2, and there I am. I want them to have that option.

Orkut has options for getting fancy, with "fan" status. A fan seems like the person who considers the fanee a friend, but the fanee wouldn't necessarily consider the fan so close to him/her in their relationship. Everyone likes fanees, it's just the way it is.

Ok, the "sexy" rating I don't quite understand. God help you if you're ugly in this world- why pour salt on the wound? Maybe it's to get a sense of the mileage out of your compliment, before you actually offer one to that person... ie all these other people gave this person a high "sexy" rating, so if I ever tell this person they look nice, it won't get me as far with her. If you really don't get Orkut, just try to break the system- give everyone you know a high sexy rating. And stop waiting for someone to give you one. Sounds like the author of the post mortem needs more attention-- let's all give him a high sexy rating. You with me? (hello?)

One issue is that fish tend not to join the water groups. Most fish may not give a very good definition of water, because it's around them all the time and they don't know what it's like without water. We don't necessarily identify ourselves into the groups that others categorize us into. Would Kel be expected to join a group of beef jerky smugglers? Ex-military personnel to join the group of high likelihood to commit terrorist acts?

Even the Brazilians don't necessarily join the Brazil group- they're there all the time, they see Brazilians every single day.
I think David made a pretty good point. Besides that, the simple fact that there's a large number of Brazilians living in the Boston area probably has something to do with it.
Interesting link Andrew, thanks for that. I wonder how Ned and Damien felt during Sammy Sosa's home run race, around 1998, when you tended to see more Dominican Republic flags and bumper stickers around.

On Saturday Night Live, Dominican Lou appeared with Colin Quinn. While Dominican Lou, himself, was not a member of a professional baseball team- in the MBA or in the Dominican Republic (nor was he even a fan of baseball, for that matter?) Domincan Lou still felt a connection. Personally, I don't even understand the concept of why people watch other people play sports in the first place, but his reason is as good as any.
David, you seem to confuse puzzlement with Brazillians behaviour with xenophobia. If those seven do indeed have ties to Brookline, then mystery solved. If they are interested in Brooklne, then mystery solved. If they just want to join random groups, then I don't understand. That wouldn't make them wrong or bad, but it would still puzzle me.

Also, this is the Internet, and there are all sorts of scams constantly going on, which makes one defensively question others when their motivations aren't clear. The Brazillian phenomenon is like that, because I don't understand their motivations, I can't help but wonder what they are and if they're honorable. A little paranoia is good when dealing with others on the Internet.

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