‘It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.’
We have gathered here today to witness the momentous occasion of this writer using a Green Day lyric for the last time to open an article. The track, Good Riddance, alsobefits the event of Google deciding to shut down Orkut, the first social networking site for most of our generation.
Like in the case of all of our teenage crushes and subsequent love affairs, our engagement with the purple tinged social network began with much excitement. The zealous among us took to it obsessively, spending hours checking out profiles of our friends and their friends and so on.
‘Scraps’ were the new currency, and everyone seemed to have it in abundance, many paying cyber cafes some change to check them and sending SMSes to the then four-digit services to receive them on Nokia 3310s and Moto Razrs. There were also the life-altering testimonials, hyperactive communities, the ‘Who visited your profile?’ links – all candy flosses of that sugary sweet era.
Orkut was our first ever license to knock doors of pretty neighbours and classmates and peep in their rooms – virtually of course.
In fact, this very nature of the O network led to the birth of the ‘Orkutiya’, the lecherous Indian male who uses a fake profile to spit vitriol/be obscene/look for excuses to use explicit language. Little did we know that the Orkutiya – the ‘frandship’ maker – would be so iconic that he and his clones would evolve into desi ‘trolls’ and help a rightist party win a national election in a large-ish democracy. Winning party, you owe Mr Orkut for your victory too.
Talking of Mr Orkut, didn’t you at one point also believe, that the network was found by a guy by that name who was desperately looking for his ex-girlfriend? Or that the girl who kept ‘visiting your profile’ was really into you? Or that your ludicrous arguments on public forums and choice of ‘groups’ would actually get you something – recognition, status, may be impress that girl.
Whatever you did, you know you slipped into the big bad hole of social networking and are now embarrassed while reading this like a happily married person reminiscing an ex who turned out to be a social misfit.
That said, we must give it to Orkut, for having the gumption to stay around, (even though on life support from the past half a decade or so) hoping we would return, perhaps on a rebound. Little did it realise that we’d been charmed by a fascinating b*tch called Facebook, who by looking corporate, friendly and slutty at the same time, made Orkut look like a tart who tried too hard.
Many have come, gone and stayed after that tempestuous first affair, and Orkut’s father Google even aborted a one-year-old child called Buzz, but our memories of purple O remain intact. Though like that awful half-naked picture from your family’s Goa trip or a wet fart in a boardroom, we have tried our best to keep them out of others’ knowledge.
September 30th, 2014 it is, when they will pull the plug on Orkut. Until then, gather all your memories from it. Or burn them.