Two years ago I was invited to join the fascinating world of Orkut. At that time I joined it, as it was a matter of prestige to be a member of a site where membership was based solely on invitation. In retrospect, I realize that it was a clever tactic by Google to popularize the site. Boy, did it work! Soon people became desperate to join the site, Orkut had answered their prayers. Being an open site, people from across the country, including rural areas have an account on the site; forming a mini-India on the web.
Orkut became the topic of conversation everywhere; in living rooms, cafes, schools and colleges. Eavesdropping took the form of “eaves-scrapping” and much to the annoyance of many, secrets became public. To the many busy bees of the world who are often found guilty of losing touch with their friends, bail came in the form of Orkut! What has made Orkut so popular is that is different and so simple that even a bumblebee would understand!
Other sites, such as, Facebook and Hi5 are among the popular ones that require a lot of patience and time (and radar) to understand what is where. More than anything else, features such as the Wall on Facebook lack novelty. Also, Facebook offers a variety of fun activities like snowball fights and pillow fights, which are fun in the beginning but get immensely boring after a while.
Orkut’s existence in our country has been threatened more than once. It got caught in legal cases, most notably for offending “Indian sentiments” in a community by the name “We hate India”. The government even considered banning the site in the country and backtracked, probably after realizing that proxy sites exist! Further, in one particular case, an orkut member was murdered by friends he had made on the internet. Surprisingly, the murders were blamed on the negative influence of the site, whereas in fact, making friends on the site is purely one’s own choice.
Despite these irrelevant and ridiculous controversies, Orkut has gained an iconic status amongst the youth. It is an integral part of our lives and many of us (borrowing a filmi line) feel incomplete without it. For all I know, a generation has been made which will narrate to the following generations its experiments on Orkut.
[image by .dan]