Back in the heady days of 2004 when it seemed that anything and everything was possible in social media (as, indeed, often proved to be the case), there was a little social networking service that would go on to change lives around the world. No, we aren’t talking about Facebook, but another fondly remembered platform that was established just weeks earlier: Orkut.
The service, owned and operated by Google, quietly went live in January of that year, its name shared with that of the Turkish software engineer Orkut Büyükkökten, who brought it into being as an independent project during his time at the search giant.
Alas, while Facebook went from strength to strength over the course of the 2010s, Orkut couldn’t keep pace, and was eventually shuttered by Google in 2014. But could the platform now be about to make an unlikely comeback?
As reported by Forbes Brazil, speculation has been prompted by the apparent reactivation of orkut.com, along with a message seemingly from Orkut Büyükkökten himself.
In the statement, Büyükkökten reflects with pride on the social network’s past, as a community of “diverse voices… where hate and disinformation were not tolerated. We worked hard to make orkut.com a community where you could go meet real people who shared your interests, not just people who liked and commented on your photos.”
"The untold story of Orkut Büyükkökten—the man who built world’s largest social network before Mark Zuckerberg" https://t.co/CLiwJCmu7c pic.twitter.com/vZAQ6TbDL6
— Orkut Buyukkokten (@orkut) July 5, 2017
The statement continues: “The world needs kindness now more than ever. There is so much hate online these days, and our options for finding and building real connections are few and far between.
“Our online tools should serve us, not divide us. They should protect our data, not sell it. They should give us hope, not fear and anxiety. The best social network is the one that enriches your life but that doesn’t manipulate it. I want you to be able to be your true self, online and off. I want you to be able to make connections that stick. I want to help you do that with all my heart.
“I’m an optimist. I believe in the power of connection to change the world. I believe that the world is a better place when we get to know each other a little bit more. It’s why I created the world’s first social network when I was a grad student at Stanford. It’s why I brought orkut.com to so many of you around the world. And it’s why I am building something new. See you soon!”
That reference to “building something new” will particularly excite fans of the old Orkut service. However, Büyükkökten did not elaborate on whether the platform as great numbers of people remember it, actually will return in some form.
There is, though, the option on the page to register for updates. Needless to say, like the old Orkut itself, this will be an interesting one to watch…