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.