What is Orkut?
The social networking site Orkut, created in 2004 and shut down in 2014, experienced great popularity in Brazil during the decade it operated. The site had over 50,000 communities within its first four months, and over 1.5 million within a year. Similar to other sites, users were able to use searches for keywords and descriptions to seek out communities, as well as seeing which communities other users were part of. Most users of the site were either students or individuals who work in technology, and an invitation-only system of membership meant being well-connected.
Orkut placed a heavy value on user privacy, but also allowed users to rate each other on categories such as being cool or trustworthy. Product and service recommendations could also be made by users within their communities. This was critical because so many Brazilians place heavy trust in recommendations from social media.
Successful and Unsuccessful Planning
There are several steps in an effective action plan. These include:
- Goals – setting goals that relate to objectives
- Target audience – finding both a larger and smaller target audience, as well as individuals
- Social media choice – choose a relevant platform
- Resources – budget, expertise, and quality control
- Policies – such as password policies and ethical considerations
- Monitoring – measuring effects and constant research
- Activity plan – timeframes for projects and monitoring
Orkut was successful in many ways. First, it had a goal and purpose to provide the ability to search for communities. It targeted audiences of students and technology workers, and created a platform to meet audience needs. With Google as its owner, many resources were available to help ensure its success. Policies such as user privacy were a major focal point. However, Orkut fell short on monitoring. Online video was very important to its Brazilian audience, but the platform lacked video sharing capabilities and struggled with image sharing. It also limited how many connections with friends users could make. If Orkut had taken appropriate steps to monitor and adjust to audience needs, perhaps it would have continued to grow and thrive.
Orkut and Culture
Perhaps one of the reasons Orkut was so popular in Brazil was because of how the platform aligned with Brazilian culture. In Brazil, 92% of internet users have social network connections and average nearly 4 hours per day on social media. The culture encourages social media engagement. Additionally, there are more cell phones than people, and Brazilians have a very positive attitude towards online shopping. While we are bombarded with billboard advertisements in the U.S. during our daily commutes, online marketing is very popular in Brazil where there is a ban on outdoor advertising. These factors helped set Orkut up for success in Brazil. However, a lack of monitoring and making adjustments to meet the changing needs of its audience ultimately led the platform, which peaked at 30 million users, to its decline and collapse.