A few random thoughts on orkut, the newest Friendster-clone on the block:
- If there’s one thing that social network services have done for us, it’s given people a straightforward way to tell the world that they’re swingers.
- Too many questions! I’d rather fill out a 1040at least I get money for that.
- Can anyone really check off “my style is fresh from the city streets” with a straight face?
- It’s odd that while you can type in things that are “turn-offs”, you have to pick from a grab bag of “turn-ons” such as “long hair”, “candlelight”, “sarcasm”, and “thunderstorms”. (Hmm, a dream date with Janeane Garofalo during a power outage?)
- One nice feature that I haven’t seen before is that you can specify which group of people can see which bits of personal information.
- As nifty as viral marketing is, I don’t like pimping out my friends & acquaintances. (Heck, I don’t even like saying brand names out loud because it makes me feel like I’m in a commercial.) So if you know me and want the orkut hookup, let me know.
- “orkut” certainly is a memorable name.
- As Cory Doctorow points out, most of the social network services essentially make users ask each other, “Are you my friend, yes or no?” (Kicking it elementary school style!) I prefer being able to say “I like this person”, without any explicit pressure on them to respond. Upcoming.org does this the right way, I think.
- orkut lets you rate friends along the “trusty”, “cool”, and “sexy” karma axes, but right now there’s no disincentive to keep the system from turning into an eBay-style “A++++++++++++ GREAT SELLAR OMG!!1!!!” love-fest. If I were king, I would constrain the points to make it a more interesting economy. If you only had, say 1/4 of a “cool point” to spend for each friend you had, you’d have to be a little more choosy. Maybe if enough people had dubbed you “sexy”, you could have more “sexy buying power”. Etcetera.
- The most impressive thing about Friendster is that everyone and their mom is on there, even people who areshall we sayHotmail users. It’s become a great way of tracking down old pals who aren’t geeks (I can just google for the old pals who are geeks). With so many early adopters complaining of social-network fatigue, will any of the other services attract anything more than geeksters?