12/09/2006

Growing Orkut popularity

I have been on Orkut for the past 3-4 months and things have been very vibrant over there..Met friends whom I expected/didn't expect..At my age, one would feel you would see almost nobody, but weirdly enough I did see some from my very own circle out there! I started tracking the userbase. When I joined Orkut, it's size was around 28 million. I remember me waiting for Orkut to turn 30 (30 million) which IMHO took a long time (around a couple of months) but the surge from 30-35 million has almost been in no time! Curiosity got the better of me and I started investigating who was behind this thriving network (named after a Google employee Orkut) ...

It was interesting to see that Brazilians, Americans and Indians formed it's core, Brazil almost being the heart and soul with a whopping 66%. Indians came in third with a sizable 9% behind Americans who were at around 12%. Honestly, I don't think Americans really use Orkut that much..I searched for a few common American names and surnames and found that very few results turned up and of the few that turned up, very little activity and even if there was any activity I saw some Indians/Brazilians on their list ;)..Well, all this might have been a coincidence, but just cannot be ignored. Americans use other things like Facebook, MySpace which have a lot more going on in terms of activity like videos etc etc...But how and why did Orkut become a big hit with Brazilians and Indians?

My theory goes thus, ..the only common thing thread binding these people from both India and Brazil is that they are socially thirsty, maybe a little insecure and have a deep sense of belonging to a community. I am an Indian and I know the number of festivals, get-togethers we have far surpasses what I have seen in other countries. A sense of sharing and show-off is also a part of our culture :). Maybe orkut invitations were distributed equally amongst people from different nations, but Indians and Brazilians just grew it out of bounds virally!! Once you reach a critical mass, the whole process is self-sustaining, growing and feeding itself :). IMHO, India being the second most populous country with a vibrant "young generation" will soon come very near to Brazilian dominance on Orkut and probably even move a step ahead. Other social networking websites did not catch on with us probably because Orkut looks/looked a lot more "personal" and gave us the pride and exclusivity(not any longer) of distributing an orkut invitation that was not available freely online and maybe even the blue (our cricket jersey!) .. What do you think ?

Btw, search for Vijay Challa on Orkut and you will most definitely find me :D..wanna connect?

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