The backlash against Friendster, Orkut, and other “social networking” apps continues, and I have to say I’m in total agreement with the general “Where’s the beef?” day-after assessment. Despite initial enthusiasm about Orkut, I’ve since lost all interest, and never visit the site without provocation. ZeFrank has a hilarious and searing video indictment of social networking sites. Especially telling: Almost all of my real friends who received inviations from me to join Orkut simply ignored them.

But the problem isn’t with social networking per se’ — the problem is implementation. Friendster, Orkut, etc. make a big deal about who you know. Who cares? No wonder people get burned out on these services – they emphasize the wrong thing. What matters is (surprise!) content.

And guess which social networking experiment got that message from the beginning? LiveJournal. Sure LJ lets you hook up with rings of friends, but those friends are (generally) accumulated as a result of real conversations. Rather than starting with a databased list of favorite TV shows and cat names, people think and speak, others think and speak back, and relationships are forged as a result. Elemental. It’s possible to create relationships that way on Orkut too, but on Orkut, conversation is secondary to the process of artificially jacking up your tally of so-called friends to make yourself appear popular.

I doubt I’ll pull out of Orkut, but I don’t see myself contributing to it either. To me it’s become a non-starter.

Music: Gary Numan :: We Are Glass

5 Replies to “N-Ster”

  1. Think of a combination of LJ and Orkut and Google: A community-based blog system where the network knows your friends and your search history and what you’ve posted about (using basic content-scanning algorithms), and markets to you on that basis. Fiendish. Someone will invent it (if it’s not in beta already). I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.

  2. Google does Orkut. Google owns Blogger.

    I’d wager that the linkage between the two is, as chris guessed, in alpha/beta already.

    Of course, in some ways, we’re just re-creating Usenet…

  3. Re-creating Usenet, with all it’s problems, too. Nothing new under the sun in that way. Thank God spring is here.


  4. Hindsight being 20/20 (well, it’s not entirely hindsight), Chris is on to something – just read what Google’s got planned for GMail.

    I do agree with you Scot – as I’ve finally made it on to Orkut (as you know), I’ve been waiting to find something that would give me reason to logon on a regular basis. I think Orkut is the best of the bunch (well, personal experience is from Friendster, Ryze & Tribes), but the revelation hasn’t happened yet. The group/organization aspect to it (and Ryze) does offer some promise, but I haven’t seen any of them truely make full use of it (although I did reconnect with some old friends using them). I’m not sure if the addition of a blogging component would really be that catalyzing piece. It does need content though, I will give you that.

  5. Brian, I’m not saying Orkut needs to add a blogging component – I’m saying that what LJ really got right was a very deep sense of community based on shared conversation via deep interconnectedness of blogs. I don’t think it would be enough for Orkut to simply bolt on a blog module.

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