In our younger days we all loved scrapbooking — writing messages using high-flown adjectives to impress others and outlandish themes to decorate them. No I’m not talking about those handmade scrapbooks but of our good old Orkut, Google’s first foray into online social networking. Launched ten years back the site, which became a huge hit in India, is shutting down on September 30.
All of us who were born in the 1990s wistfully recollect those days when we created profiles, wrote testimonials, sent decorative scraps, made up fan lists and asked our friends to rate us as “cool”, “hot” or “sexy”. Orkut was the first social platform to be used widely to connect not only with our school and college buddies but also make friends in the virtual world too. Strangers became friends, who later became lifetime friends.
We remember the times when we logged on to Orkut and waited for our friends to send us scraps with dozens of communities dedicated to our school and college mates. However, the feature we found most amazing was the “recent visitors to my profile” option where whoever you think was stalking you (or vice versa) would get caught through notifications.
Varun Dhir, 30, from Chandigarh, who now resides in Britain, says: "I met my old schoolfriend through the recent visitor option only. During our school days we never talked to each other but we were again connected through Orkut and, after ten years, we’re still in touch."
Says Kriti Giridhar, 25, a junior research fellow at PGI, Chandigarh: Although I created an Orkut profile with a fictitious name, I was initially apprehensive about logging on to the site. But after a while after I had become familiar with social networking I had a lot of fun in school and college. Though I didn’t become hooked to the site I was crazy to peep into others’ profiles. Google should have revamped the Orkut instead of deciding to shut it down."
Aman Grewal, a 30-year-old businessman from Chandigarh, remarked: "I loved Orkut testimonials in which my friends wrote whatever they felt about me. I’ll definitely miss my fan list!"
Another Orkut user, Jaskaran Singh Pal, 28, a businessman from Jalandhar, says," My first ever social connection was through Orkut. It might be folding up but the fond memories attached to the site will remain with me for ever”.
With other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter gaining popularity during the past few years, Orkut’s user base began to gradually slow down despite Google adding new features. Though newcomers will not be able set up a new account, existing users can export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout. The internet giant will now focus Google+, blogger and youtube.
Tweets by people:
Suresh Rolan @sureshrolan
Shutting down #Orkut is like removing life support system from a brain dead patient in coma since a decade.
Sukh Sandhu @SukhSandhu
People change, feelings fade, things go wrong, memories remain, but life goes on. RIP #Orkut
Kunal Panja @kunalpanja
Sad to see #Orkut decommissioned.It was the father of social networking & played an important role in my life. #riporkut #byeorkut