I have a theory.
Orkut and Facebook, and all other social networking sites are games. Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games. The game begins with zero friends, and you need to build up a friends list with continuous playing. It requires great patience, and great strategy. Some games have other sub-goals. Eventually all of these add up, with some sophisticated formula, to be the coolness factor.
Unfortunately, as with all games, people tend to get bored. Some people realize that they are no longer in the race, and so they claim (and make themselves believe) that Game Orkut is a pathetic game for losers, and say hello to Game Facebook. Some more pathetic souls would move on to lesser known sites which love spamming innocent players like you.
Then there’s the other class of master strategists who believe that Game Orkut is passe. For kids. For the lesser mortals. And they claim so loudly. They point at you and laugh. And move over to Game Facebook. Sexier, larger, and of course — the Americans use it.
And now they have an all new game, they can test their skills right from the start. They build their empires from scratch. Ah! the excitement!
As games, there’s a major difference between Orkut and Facebook. Facebook is a game that evolves. There are more components to the game. Consider the difference between playing, say Tic-tac-toe and Chess. Chess has many more pieces. The game lasts longer. There are more decisions to make. Its harder to predict the outcome. Its more challenging.
The Chess pieces in Facebook are the “Applications”. Right now I see many of these Chess pieces in my Facebook account: “Compare yourself with friends”, “Coolest friends”, “Hottie request”… As mentioned earlier, victory is a complex formula of all of these.
On the other hand, everybody stops playing Tic-tac-toe.
(I have liked orkut not as a game, but for its simplicity. It achieves what it is meant for, with just an “X” and “O”. I have joined Facebook in the past few months because all the hot chics are there. Yes, yes — hot chics are very aggressive players. And I like ogling. Yet, I pledge allegiance to Orkut. May Google rule the world.)