As Orkut shuts down, city folk reminiscence about the first social networking site

When Google Inc recently announced that the decade-old Orkut, its first social networking site, would cease to exist on September 30, not many were surprised. Having lost to rivals like Facebook, the company has supposedly taken this decision to focus on its other social networking initiatives.

Considering Orkut’s largest fan base was in Brazil and India, would the site be missed? Aiyman Sait, a restaurateur says: “I haven’t checked my Orkut account even once since Facebook but when I heard of the site shutting down, I retrieved my forgotten password and logged on to see what it looked like. With sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in touch with friends and professional contacts, I don’t see why anyone would miss Orkut. Though at its prime, it was the best.”

“I won’t miss Orkut for sure,” says Nakshatra Menezes, a homemaker. There are however, a few features I really liked. One could change and customise the theme of his/her profile. The word ‘scrap’ had a whole new meaning. It was also nice to write testimonials about friends and have people write them about you. It was the first social networking site and that’s how I connected with many of my classmates from school and college.”

Privacy was one of the reasons for people to move away from Orkut. “Anyone could visit anyone else’s profile and stalk you even,” says Tina Mohan, a customer care executive.

“Much later, one could restrict one’s profile information. I also remember a time when there were a lot of hate communities online so I’m quite glad Google has decided to shut down this site.”

The other question that comes from the shutting down of Orkut is do social networking sites come with an expiry date. “The reason Orkut lost its lustre was because it failed to evolve,” says Akash Kumar, an engineer. “There is something new happening practically every day in the newer social networking sites. You can also promote your business or creative ventures.”

If you want to bid adieu to Orkut, you’ve got about two months to do so but with Google saying it would preserve an archive of all Orkut communities that will be available from September 30, many are going with the option of having their posts or name deleted from the community archive by removing Orkut permanently from their Google account.