Update: Orkut Social Network has now been discontinued.
Created in 2004, Orkut is one of the bigger social networks in the world. Owned and operated by the folks at Google, this site, while open to people internationally, is huge in Brazil, with over half of the users coming from that country.
Over a quarter, Orkut members come from India, and over 5% are Japanese. Popularity for Orkut has surged at times in certain areas, such as Estonia, but it seems that the popularity of Facebook usually undermines Orkut’s following elsewhere in the world.
While most members are clustered in far flung countries (with no common language), the site is about meeting new friends and hanging onto current connections. However, with Facebook looming large over the site, is it worth taking the time to join up? The following review of one of the top websites in Brazil should be able to help you decide.
The Orkut Review
Orkut is like many of the other social networks out there. It lets users set up a profile that they can customize with a theme. They can poll other users, share videos, use a chat feature and “like” things that they want to share with family and friends.
Friend on the site can be evaluated by those on their friends list, marking their friend as “trustworthy,” “sexy,” or “cool.” This seems to be a feature of several more marginal social networks, such as Skyrock out of France.
Profiles are less private, as you can’t make your profile private or “friends only.” You can elect to show it to certain networks, but you can’t secure the same degree of privacy you can get with Facebook.
Users can, however, restrict what profile elements come up for those who are not already on their friends list. A unique feature that would appeal to the young and the lovelorn is the “crush list.”
Users can add any member to this list, and if both parties have added each other to this list, Orkut will inform them.
Visually speaking, the site isn’t stunning or groundbreaking. A bland, minimal color palate, it may remind you of a subdued MySpace. You could also see it as a cluttered Facebook. While not original, the interface is clean, intuitive and easy to use. Even someone who is new to social networking and computers would probably find Orkut workable.
Even though Orkut seems derivative and has most of its users clustered by region, it is not a bad network.
The simplicity and ease of use makes it great for all ages, and the features, particularly the “Crush List,” make it well suited to younger audiences as well.
If you don’t live in an area where Orkut is prominent, using the site may not be the best use of your energy when it comes to social media.
If your friends, relatives and the people you are hoping to reach already use Orkut, it is a solid choice. For most people, particularly those outside of Brazil, another social network is probably a better solution.