With so much competition on the Internet today, social networking sites have to stay ahead of the game on all fronts. These websites rely on visitor loyalty and must offer features that will not only bring users back, but also entice them to bring their friends along as well. Google, who rolled out Orkut in 2004, is constantly upgrading and improving their social networking community in hopes of becoming a social networking contender world-wide.
What Is Orkut?
Orkut is a social networking community that was designed to help users maintain relationships with existing friends, as well as to create new friendships with people across the globe. This website allows users to share their interests and hobbies with other users. Using the features and tools provided, members are able to build networking contacts for their businesses, locate long lost friends and family, and even create new potential love connections with other local users.
The basic idea is that Orkut allows the individual to decide how they want to use the website and with whom they want to interact. The user is able to view the profiles of other members before they bridge a connection.
Recent Updates in Orkut
With the help of user feedback, the developers at Orkut have made some very useful changes and updates to the social networking site.
Photo Popularity Counter
In June 2011, Orkut introduced a feature that tells members how many times their photos have been viewed. Every photo posted to Orkut now displays a hit counter that is refreshed every few minutes. With these regularly updated stats, every member can easily tell how popular any given photograph is. Conversely, the user can tell which photos are not being viewed at all.
Community owners and moderators now have the ability to view their admin history. The addition of this feature was a major step for Orkut community management. The history data displays the past six months of administrative actions. These actions include content that was deleted by an administrator, members who were banned, un-banned, or removed from the community, declined join requests, and the addition or removal of moderators or group owners. This feature helps the administrators better manage their communities.
Full Screen Photo Viewer
Members now have the ability to view photos in full screen. This new and highly improved feature doesn't only allow the user to view larger images, it also allows them to like or comment on the picture while still in full screen mode. The comments appear to the right of the image, arranging everything nicely on the user's screen.
New Look and Feel
Based on feedback offered from the Orkut members, a new look and feel has been rolled out for this social networking community. This upgrade includes:
- Easier Navigation - The most popular features of the community are now available in a navigation bar on the left side of the screen. This generally makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
- New Profile View - Profiles now include user info, badges, interests, testimonials, photos and videos. The profile photo is now larger and easier to see.
- New Smileys - Users can expect to see more smiley options in the "like" comment feature. In addition, similar to the smileys found in Google Chat, the user can type in special codes to include the extra smileys in the comment fields.
Orkut allows users to collect and display badges which are assigned based on specific interactions. For example, if a user has been with Orkut for more than five years, they are awarded the Early User badge. The user has the option to display this badge on their profile. Orkut started this feature in November 2010 with eight distinct badges but intends to add more. The eight original badges are:
- Early User - Someone who has been using Orkut for more than five years
- Graduate - Someone who uses most of the features on Orkut
- Promoter - A user who created a promotion that was viewed by a large number of people
- Super User - An Orkut member who has helped several users in the help forum
- Millionaire Community - A community owner with more than a million members
- Master - A user who has mastered the most advanced features on Orkut
- Trend Setter - An Orkut member with activities that receive several comments from many different friends
- Strong Contributor - A member who has helped the Orkut team make the website better for everyone
Orkut Promote allows users to create a promotion to share information with other users. To successfully use this feature, members will create a promotion. Orkut will display this promotion to all of that user's friends. At that point, the friends will be able to share the promotion with their friends, and so on. A successful promotion could go on and on throughout many different levels of friends and colleagues.
For further exposure, Orkut has created a Promo URL feature. This feature creates a Web address for the promotion. Using that Web address, the member can share their promotion outside of the Orkut community.
Orkut, who celebrated its seventh year in January 2011, is constantly upgrading its community and features to keep up with the ever-changing technological advances in social networking. More importantly, this site has based several upgrades on user feedback. While it is important to keep up with the technology, it is more important to meet the needs and requests of the members.