So, there is yet another social network. Some people are happy, some are just frustrated with the thought that they might have to start all over again. I have been pretty old in this business in the sense that I had a well maintained Orkut account before I could learn to use internet for study. 😉 I’ve had more accounts on websites, forums and social circles, that I had actual friends. The person who sent me orkut invite knew nothing about email, but he knew how to leave a scrap. It was all too fascinating in those days. After healthy 7 years in this business, I felt I should write something about the Web networks that we’ve all been a part of at one point or another. It’s been a long time and it would be helpful if we divide them into periods of time rather than one long paragraph. (actually this is just one of my tricks to make it look important to readers :P) So, Off we go!
The Orkut-Myspace-Era(2002 – I-dont-Know-I-am-Dead-Yet) :
2005. Not so many people knew internet around. Cyber cafes charged fierce 50 bucks and hour, and they still had doors ;-).
Myspace was too advance, so public migrated to Orkut. Those were the days of “Kewl” Captions, the Famous Mass scrap scripts.
People used to chat with scrapbook just to increase Them-Number-of-Scraps-on-Profile to boast about! I won’t talk to a person in real world as readily as I will talk to him on orkut. Those were the days of joining several communities and people felt pride in the number of emails orkut generated for them. (I had them marked as spam, a little ahead of curve, you know).
Time flew and the interest with orkut started to wither out in spite of all the efforts from the Google. They tried changing themes, incorporated games, updates and what not. But to no avail. The time had come. Soon, we would see how one giant fell to another just to pick up again the same title.
The Facebook-Friendfeed-Era (2003 – I-Wont-Give-Up)
Just like cursing Microsoft was a style statement those days, soon orkut picked up the fame of being social network for relatively lame internet users. Not being on orkut, or not being able to open your orkut to follow updates became mark of a true internet user. There was a knight who came to their rescue, who had written a website to compare faces of chicks by the time other students learnt to cheat. Allegedly stealing the idea of (Really?) his fellow students, he wrote the code for another social networking website. Thefacebook.com! Yes, that’s what the bored public wanted. Yet another network to fool themselves from the reality. Like an empty public transport, people hopped on it. Facebook became new sensation eating up some other chronic baby social networks as well.
Facebook developer opened up news ways of sharing and suddenly every single website I surfed had a like button and share button. More so, I could see which of my friends like about particular brand, company or organization. It was so easy to sneak up at their music and movie preferences. That was a particularly good feature in the sense that with every shared snippet of web(whether a video, an article, or image) Facebook was advertising for their own. When Microsoft bought 1.6 % of Facebook shares for a whopping $ 240 MN, I knew it was to stay for a long time.
The Wall and Notifications replaced scraps. Internet Frenzies ran to get the same donuts: only in a new shape. The newsfeed seemed like a great feature, until your lame friends started clogging it with the Farmville requests. The new games, Facebook chat, Awesome looking interface, and the concept of “Like”. They really did an awesome job there. But so did Orkut when it was a baby. Just as Winkle Voss brothers came to know that it’s better to have some money than this website which is gonna wear out one day or another, it was Mark Zuckerberg’s turn to realize the same. So, they started incorporating extra features, which felt as if Facebook will do pretty good if they weren’t there in the first place! Like the new Facebook chat:
The Google+ Era (2011 – Still in Diapers)
Google took a big hit with the Facebook punching it in the face. With just India and Brazil in hand, they felt they had to do something. And Yes they did. Two terrible things came across as fighters: Google Wave and Google Buzz. Maybe both were developed after smoking a joint. 🙂 I really don’t understand. Maybe the team developing the Buzz just hi-fived each other and hoped for the best! :PSo, they were knocked out on their own. This added up to the spice and since then people started anticipating what Google will come up with for the third time.
Maybe with the failure of these two projects one thing was clear. Facebook had changed things around in the social circle arena, Forever. It was not just a matter of building a product who lets you sneak up on friends. It was about universal sharing. It was about being present everywhere on web. It was about being present on every single device, Coz people are freaking around, facebooking and twitting from washrooms and what nots.
Then came the big tide. There came the +1. A worthy competitor at last to Facebook Like. Although people were resilient at first, they started seeing the big picture. With millions of webpage crawled and recrawled under it’s belly, Google could do wonders by sorting them in order of social +1. Now I see the big picture. With Hangout feature, they gave people yet another reason to leave Facebook and join Google+.
It will be very interesting to see this war, unlike others, because Google has introduced their product at a time when Facebook is doing pretty good. Maybe it’s about stealing some share of the pie, or maybe it’s potentially the largest thing on the web.
We will see it soon.
Have something else on mind? Don’t forget to share! That’s what it’s all about!!