Orkut: not a killer whale

But maybe a killer app.

I sent out e-mails to a few dozen people inviting them to become part of my network at this site. Orkut is designed to help people of similar ages, interests and localities get together. It has a bunch of “communities” of like-minded souls.

The Internet has this remarkable trait of enabling people to find others who share their strange insights. Orkut simply offers a single site to streamline the finding process. There are others — Friendster and Tribe among them.

Attempts to build social networking sites have been around for ages; I remember signing up for one back in about 1996 or so. Back then there were far too few people online to make them useful, but now that just about everybody who can type has Internet access, these sites are really taking off.

I’ve created a community for newspaper editors at Orkut, so if you got one of my invitations and decided to join up, click on the “communities” link, search on “newspaper editors” and you’ll find it.

Also: If you want to join up but nobody’s invited you, drop me a line and you can join my clique.

Just to give an idea of how Orkut works: I searched for guys about my age who live within five miles, and found profiles belonging to about a half-dozen people. If any of these guys seemed like a potential drinking buddy/cartalk correspondent, I could send one a message and give a general “yo, what’s up.” We could swap e-mails, see if anything clicks and voila: a new friend in my neighborhood, whom I would never have met without this online tool.

There’s a lot of potential in these sites once you get past the “I’m signed up, now what do I do?” phase. Thing is: you have to think that up yourself, but once you put some brain cells on the case, it’s possible to see all kinds of handy uses for these kinds of sites.

UPDATE: Some people are selling Orkut memberships on eBay. Also: looks like Orkut is slow in sending out those invites, so if you haven’t heard from me in the next couple days, lemme know and I’ll send fresh invites.

UPDATE II: It appears spam filters block the invites from going through, but there is a workaround. Now to figure out how to make it work.

UPDATE III: So much for that theory — I tried the workaround (creating a special email account w/no spam filter) but no dice. Apparently the invite function is down. So, if you’ve gotten no invite from me, don’t worry that you’re being excluded — at least not yet; once the invite function is up and running, then we can start the fun part of deciding who’s in and who’s out.

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