Imagine Sarah, a 21 year old girl who just created an orkut profile. To get started, she adds her college friends to her friend list. They share photos, join communities, exchange scraps, discuss everything that’s hot on campus. A few days later Sarah finds out that some friends from high school are also on orkut and adds them: what’s better than keeping in touch with old friends?
Then Sarah gets her first job and adds her office colleagues to orkut: you can’t decline a friend request from your boss, can you? Sarah’s social network keeps growing. Even her parents, aunts, uncles and cousins are on orkut, and she adds them to her friend list.
The college gang, old friends from high school, office colleagues, family, everyone is in Sarah’s friend list now. Soon enough she will not be able to share anything with anyone anymore – after all, jokes and photos from the office party should be shared only with her work colleagues. Scraps and photos of her baby nephew at the family reunion should only be seen by members of her family. The plans for Saturday night and the photos of the parties she went to should be seen only by her party friends – Sarah does not want her boss or her young cousin to see those.
Just like Sarah, we all maintain different groups of friends, and the Internet was not able to reflect that. Until now, social networks treated people from different groups like they were all the same: they were all “friends”.
So we asked ourselves: does it need to work this way on the Internet? Can we reproduce our groups of friends from real life on the Internet? The answer is “yes!” Starting today, we will change the core function of orkut so we can share and interact with different groups of friends on the Internet just like we do in real life.
At least someone has the right idea.
Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately – the admissions cycle is starting, which means my blogging will probably become somewhat infrequent over the coming months.