[LINK] Why Irkut ?
felipe at xs4all.nl
Sun Feb 8 23:29:00 EST 2004
A friend of mine, Rop Gonggrijp, invited me to join Orkut from Holland.
I had been invited to Friendster by another friend in the past, joined,
but never stuck around. Since then I have been getting requests from
friends all over the world to join the friends network they joined, but
I never did. Rop is one of my best friends so I decided to try.
I was amazed with what I found. Many of my friends where online.
Hackers from the 80's, renowned civil libertarians that I met and
befriended, and employees from XS4ALL I worked with for years. All
these people are early adopters and would only stick if it is just
right. No advertising, not a focus on dating, people can start their
own communities, such as EFF, 2600, CCC et cetera, all my old hacker
stomping grounds has started there too ! Irkut has only been around for
a few weeks and currently only has about 35000 users.
Orkut is not much different from Friendster, so why does it work ? The
friend networking systems take a large initial investment in terms of
time and effort to setup the network. If the network does not become
_the_ network then that effort is wasted. There can really only be one
network in the world because joining several is too tedious.
Why have the feeling that Orkut is here to stay ? First of all it comes
from Google. Orkut was developed by Google employee Orkut Buyukkokten,
Orkut majored in computer science at Stanford University, the source of
many talented Internet entrepeneurs. Orkut runs independent from
Google, as a Google affiliate. It is the most likely friends network
takeover target for Google when it becomes successful. With the backing
of Google it can potentially become as large as Google is now.
I have never seen such a large group of savvy early adopters anywhere.
Many of the early adopters are there, the same people that started on
the Internet when the web did not exist and gopher was the primary
browser. I use my network of early adopters as a forecasting tool. When
they collectively move into something that was always a prediction of
things to come. That is the same reason I switched to Mac, the ideal
hackers tool ;)
Proof of the usefulness of these networks is that I found a friend I
had not seen since the late eighties. She asked me who I was because
she forgot, and in our exchange she told me she has had MS for a number
of years. I also have MS, so we have a lot to talk about. At the same
time separately we had the idea to setup a community for MS, I beat her
to it ;-)
Some people have trouble with the legal conditions that Orkut imposes
on its community. Orkut must look into this and make it the most
legally friendly friends network. People do not like to have too many
legal conditions imposed on them. With that solved it has staying power
is will become the largest friends network community. The alternative
is an Open Source friends network, which should not be too difficult
for the community to make.
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