A decade after Internet users took their first steps into social networking with Orkut, the site is shutting down for good after September. Orkut, which popularised the idea of online posts or “scraps” between friends, has not revealed the number of users on the website. For Internet users in India, it was the popular platform before the entry of Facebook effectively sounded its death knell. According to its website, 20.44 per cent of Orkut’s users are from India, behind 50.6 per cent from Brazil. The US and Pakistan accounted for 17.78 per cent and 0.86 per cent, respectively. Orkut was launched in 2004, also the year when Facebook was founded.
Today, Facebook is the world’s largest social network with 1.28 billion users. In 2010, it overtook Orkut as the leading social networking site in India with 20.9 million visitors in July that year. From a time when social networking was seen as a youthful foray into online friendships, the pioneering website named after Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten was overtaken by more interactive sites to herald an era where social networking is a prime driver for the careeristic from all walks of life.
While Orkut’s demise was written on the Facebook wall, there is no guarantee of longevity for virtual tools in an age of instant gratification and consumerism. Just as Orkut has been “scrapped” by users switching over unremorsefully to the newer sites, the reign of Facebook, too, is likely to wane. According to a survey by Princeton University researchers, in the next three years over 80 per cent of users are likely to leave Facebook, which will die out like bubonic plague. Google has said it would preserve an archive of all Orkut communities that will be available from September 30. As we write a requiem to Orkut, there is another year to revisit the “holy city” (Turkish for orkut), look back and retrieve years of fond memories stored in scraps and testimonials.