February 20, 2004

Orkut. Or...?

Or an assortment of existing services, from what I can see.

There's been lots of discussion about the assorted social networking sites (Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut), so I was quite interested to see what the fuss was when I was invited to join Orkut by Neil.

The first problem I have with such FOAF (friend-of-a-friend) services is that it wants me to hand over the email addresses of all my friends, so that it can send them a nice invitation to join the network, and the only way you can join is if you're invited. I'm afraid I'm not about to hand over all my friends email addresses to some random third-party so they can hassle them about joining a service they may have no interest in. It would be better if I could include a URL or attachment in an email that I send.

As a result, I currently have one friend in my network, so maybe I'm not seeing the great advantages of the service. If anyone wants an invite, drop me an email and I'll invite you.

Once you've registered, you can add a photo of yourself, and then try to condense your interests, personality, likes and dislikes into a few paragraphs and check-boxes. Another thing I'm not too keen on.

And then? Well, then you seem to have access to a number of discussion forums, sorry, communities, the ability to browse your network of friends, friends-of-friends and so on, and can send messages to other people.

So Orkut appears to merely provide a facsimilie of services already available on the Internet, but with more information about the people you're interacting (you can see their picture and little snapshot of their "life") and often less functionality than the standard Internet equivalent.

I have a much richer environment for sending and receiving messages from people with my email client: it notifies me when I have a new message, I can sort my messages into folders, attach files... I can discuss my interest in Integrales on the Evocorner Forum, find out what's happening in the Cambridge area by reading the cam.misc newsgroup, and Yahoo! Groups has a much better interface for finding groups I'd be interested in - Orkut has fourteen top-level categories, and you have to search in one of them for keywords to try to narrow down the list of communitites.

It seems to me that Orkut is reinventing too many wheels just to be able to add the ability to find friends of friends and make new contacts, the FOAF network approach looks like a better bet. Maybe I'll change my mind if I end up with enough contacts on Orkut...

Posted by Adrian at February 20, 2004 12:23 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

You can receive updates whenever a new post is written by subscribing to the recent posts RSS feed or

Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Note: I'm running the MT-Keystrokes plugin to filter out spam comments, which unfortunately means you have to have Javascript turned on to be able to comment.