Hopefully the title of this piece brought a certain song to mind when you read it.
No one has been killed in the making of this post.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are practically household names here in the U.S. when you think about the most popular social media platforms. I think most people still remember MySpace’s popularity (my personal favorite was the ability to play a song on your profile page). I met one of my ex-boyfriends through MySpace (go ahead, laugh) and even though we didn’t make a good couple, we’re much better friends.
There are so many different social media platforms around the world that you or I may not know about simply because of where we live. One such was Orkut. Its parent company, Google, eventually shut it down after 10 solid years in 2014 (though it looks like it may be making a comeback) because it stopped meeting the needs of its audiences. (Mahoney and Tang, 2017)
Who and What was Orkut?
Owned and operated by Google, it was created by Orkut Büyükkökten and launched in 2004.
From what I gather, Orkut was like some combination of LinkedIn and Facebook, but with exclusive invitation-only memberships like when Google+ first rolled out. Remember when Pinterest started out like that, too? And if you managed to snag one of those coveted invitations, it was something to low-key flaunt about.
Talk about a successful marketing strategy. If you didn’t have an invitation, you probably found one through your interpersonal network.
Where was Orkut?
Wildly popular in Brazil, Orkut reached 30 million users at its peak. To compare, Facebook (also launched in 2004) had 890 million users at its 10-year mark.
Why was Orkut?
Aside from the exclusivity that made it seem more prestigious than Facebook, Orkut:
- allowed users to rate each other on the site “based on how sexy, cool, and trustworthy the found each other” (Mahoney and Tang, 2017)
- put privacy concerns front and center
- allowed users to recommend products and services which went over really well in Brazil which ranked as the fifth largest online market in the world (Mahoney and Tang, 2017)
- allowed users to connect with people they knew as well as people they admired
- provided an easy-to-navigate interface that appealed to its users and allowed them to join communities of interest
How did Orkut die?**
Social media users thrive on being able to share and connect. It turns out that when video uploads became a thing, Orkut couldn’t hold a candle to Facebook. Between functionality problems, blockages, friend limits, and even issues with loading and sharing photos, Orkut no longer had what their audiences wanted.
So they jumped ship… and went to Facebook.
Oh, and Facebook was great for a long while. Anybody else remember when you could send digital “eggs” and “potted seedlings” to a friend and you’d have to wait a few days until they “hatched” or “bloomed”?I’m still on my Facebook hiatus, by the way. And I’m really enjoying the peace of it. Find me on Instagram: @starlately.
**Not everything that dies stays dead (amiright, #SPNfamily). You can check out Orkut’s new & improved social platform, hello.