Orkut Revisited: I had been wondering whether my negative vibes about Orkut was because I was the only person on the planet apparently that had not received an invitation. Well that's all changed. And you know what? I still feel the same way. And apparently I am not the only one...
In a bit of very clever social engineering, I believe the allure of Orkut was (somewhat or mostly) about the fact that it was unattainable. By being "Invitation Only" it produced two effects: a) people who were left out wanted "in", and b) people who were "in" viewed it at some level as some kind of validation - after all they were part of the "in crowd" now.
Did you consider one consequence of the invitation-only scheme? Who were Adam and Eve? Whoever originally primed the pump is by definition Generation Zero of the whole network (presumably this is the developer of Orkut.) His or her friends are Generation One, and so on. For all we know we are all part of a grand social science experiment to create the ultimate 6-degrees-of-separation map of the world. I wonder what generation I am! I wonder who I am descended from? Do I have famous ancestors? Royalty maybe?
Comparing Orkut with LinkedIn, I favor LinkedIn. Orkut has the feel of a dating service, allowing me to rate my friends by their sexiness for crying out loud?? Both Orkut and LinkedIn suffer from people mass-uploading all their contacts into it. First of all, you end up annoying people and second, of course it dilutes the value of the network that the product represents. I am a little suspicious of people in LinkedIn that have 100 direct connections.
All in all, LinkedIn serves (an admitedly minor) use for me. Other than gawking and lurking you won't be seeing me on Orkut!