Maybe I just don't understand "social software." No, come to think of it, that's a given: I don't understand social software.
I joined Orkut because someone invited me. I accepted as "friends" anyone who asked--with one or two exceptions--if I had even the slightest idea who they were. I might have done the reverse--called myself someone's friend in absence of their action--once, maybe twice.
Some time last week, Orkut said I had more than one million contacts via the 19 "friends." As of today, that's up to 1,194,628.
And I'll be d***d if I know what that means. That I could reasonably expect any of 1.2 million people to pay attention to a message I send them? Probably not. That there are six degrees of separation between me and 1.2 million people who are somehow on Orkut? Probably, but so what?
There does seem to be an emphasis on dating, but I'm not looking. I'm in two "communities," but although I check Orkut more-or-less once a day, I don't even remember to check those communities for postings.
And, of course, Orkut's currently running so slowly and badly that it wouldn't help much. Today, even trying to see who the 19 "friends" actually are and what posts might be on the LISNews forum, I was logged out twice within 20 minutes for "30 minutes of inactivity," and it took an average of two minutes to get from screen to screen. This may say something about Google's commitment to this whole idea: Seems like they have a 486 somewhere hooked up to a phone line...
(If I put quotes around "friends" it's because I've only met 10 of the 19, and there are only five or six who I'd consider anything more than very casual acquaintances.)
What am I missing? What's the big deal with Orkut or other "social software"? Or is it just that I'm asocial, and thus not a very good fit?