orkut scraps

orkut scraps seem to be new way for otherwise disconnected people to communicate, publicly.

Judging by the way that tools are springing up for people to use orkut beyond orkut’s primitive user interface features it looks like the orkut team is going to quickly have to look beyond it’s immediate roadmap to figure out a whole new era of unforeseen activity load.

Although I’m somewhat of a non user of orkut (I checked out the beta early, and moved out early too), I went out on a mission – to figure out and see how it’s huge populace actually uses orkut, and what tools are available for power orkut users.

Some Background
The orkut social community, while plagued by constant problems (everybody say “Bad, bad server. No donut for you.”), has continued to thrive. A whopping 69 percent of all orkut users are Brazilian. Indians come in a third, at nearly 5% of the orkut populace, just after America’s 12 percent. The huge population and the activity of the members is most visible in the amount and the frequency of scrapbook entries that any popular orkut member has.

Lacking any popular publishing, personal activity centers (other than forum participation on it’s communities) the fact that orkut continues to gain the interest of new users and sustain activity of existing users suprises me. Comparison with any current social network leaves orkut far behind when it comes to features and functionality.

One of the key activity centers is each member’s scrapbook. This originates from one of the most popular pastimes on orkut; the act of surfing user profiles. One of the most popular navigation mechanisms of orkut is by clicking member picture thumbnails and then clicking on the thumbnails of their friends, and so on. Upon arriving at an interesting profile a member may leave an entry in the user’s guestbook. This has become all the more prevalent after the names of members visiting a user’s profile are displayed to the user right on his/her orkut homepage.

orkut Scrap Tools
Necessity is the mother of all invention, a wise man once said, and orkut proves to be no exception. Upon some searching, I found these two tools:

Scrapboy! (the scrapboy website)
This free tool made by the dubious “Scrapboy media corporation” is the one that’s more interesting. It tries to solve the problem of scrapbooks in orkut by allowing you to “Scrap instantly”. My jibe on the name aside, the desktop application is quite promising. Scrapboy has it’s own community on orkut, but doesn’t seem to have attained it’s popularity potential. Yet. It also seems, like the rest of orkut, to have it’s own problems – it’s owner / maintainer tries to help new users use it, where else, but on his own scrapbook!

Scrapboy is a biggish download – 20 mb plus, but then, that’s prety much the standard size of an installer if you pack the entire Microsoft dot net runtime inside. :)

Note: I mean “dubious” in the most wholesome, Internetish sort of way. The intent is to jest, and play on a pun, rather than harm.

Orkut scrap helper (link to addon’s page)
The other tool I found happens to be a Firefox addon by Ajay Martin. There’s very little detail on what it does, again a common falling of the more obscure Firefox extensions. Ajay maintains (or used to, at least) a LiveJournal weblog here.

I don’t have much more to say about the extension, will update here when I use it a little more.

Update: Orkut ScrapEasy (addon download page)
Just found another tool made by Karthik Veeramani. I’ve not tested it but it does seem to work, at least from the comments on the Firefox addons site. Karthik’s also made a ScrapEasy Greasemonkey script, you’ll need to install Greasemonkey first, for that.

My thoughts
I’ve been somewhat of an avid follower of the evolution of social networks and online social intellectual property based communities and I’ve never really been able let go of the feeling that orkut is probably quite confusing a place for new users. People join up when invited by friends and then spend enough time to satisfy their need for vanity (or their need to tell others what they think about themselves) by filling in the comprehensive profiling area in orkut. Then it’s pretty much a submitting of scraps routine. There really is not much more to do, on orkut. Apart from playing inane games (comment-on-previous-poster’s-avatar and other combinations) that is. I would think that over all this time, a lot more possible activities would have sprung up on orkut. In comparison with other social networks, which allow users to maintain their own “spaces” among other gimmickery, orkut is quite restrictive and at times, unpredictable.

Throughout it’s history, orkut has had it’s bad patches. First there was a spate of flood bots, then the javascript wars took over. Then the hoaxes to get everyone to change their nationality.

I’ve observed that social networks that have some sort of API and openness tend to flourish more – Flickr is a shining example of this. The amount of applications, and the places and methods people use Flickr is really surprising. Heck, even I wrote a flickr desktop gadget myself, along with Apurva.

orkut, though, steadfastly refuses to open it’s doors to general public – it remains member-invite only. The lack of any sort of API (at least on cursory examination) and infrequent updates to functionality are another problem in my opinion.

If any of these tools succeed in their mission to enable people to both read and post to scrapbooks and forums in communities quickly and easily, and attain sufficient popularity, orkut will have quite a few problems if it maintains it’s stance. Load, for one. Usability, for another. Imagine what it’d be like to use the basic orkut interface if the scrapbook view became similar to a chatlog, that too a one-sided one, for a really large number of users. The casual or new orkut user would be even more confused than he currently gets when he uses the site.

I would view that failure to be systemic in impact. Failure to evolve and adapt spells sure doom in the current online social world.

My point?
I’d be quite a lot more inclined to use these tools if I thought that orkut had anything to offer for me apart from the casual old acquaintaince dropping by to say “Hi!”. You might derive more benefit than me, of course. Do try out these tools if you do.

76 thoughts on “orkut scraps”

  1. Apart from the fact that a lot of my friends use orkut, the only reason I use orkut more than the others its simplicity. That there isn’t much else to do than send messages. Somehow the idea of professional network online has never really impressed me much. I have tried Yahoo 360, Hi5, Linked In, Ryze, OpenBC, but for now orkut it is.

  2. Orkut Invitations: People who want orkut invitations, either put down your email *inside* a comment here, or use the feedback form (available in the menu on top)

    That’s the only way I’m going to be able to invite, you, right?

  3. Hello dhiraj sir,

    i am a great fan of orkut! But i am not amember of it.
    So… can you send me an orkut invitation sir
    to join in the orkut family & to be my frend…!
    i think u will accept my request.


    Your faithfully,
    Nandini jha

    [email protected]

  4. rectification:—is there any technique to send the scrap to my frend list at a time.please reply if ut`s there.

  5. sir orkut has been blocked in our college…m able to access only the home page so plz tel hw to access it and to check my scrapzzzzzzzzzz……….

  6. Hi Deeraj,

    Ur blog was really helpful to me,since I was able to download some softwares,like grease monkey,
    scrap helper..and The biggie….SCRAP BOY!!
    Well..rt now am d/loading SCRAP BOY…

    Uhh!!!……..scrap boy takes a hell lot of time to d/l!!…….24 MB it is,compared to others ranging only a few KBs…

    Well, i jus logged in here to ask..

    how can I scrap all my friends simultaneously!!

    Is there any way???
    Like some automated srap helper!!

    IF yes..plz do help me….

    And one of my frnds Orkut PROFILE..
    JUST VANISHED!!!…..all of a sudden.

    how does it happen??
    I am eager to know!!….

  7. is there any way to veiw orkut scraps without logging in to the orkut site or without installing the “scrapboy ” as i can not veiw the site http://www.orkut.com and i also cannot install any program onmy system due to restriction of user rights

  8. Hi.. I find your blog very interesting…Thanks for sharing info…
    I’ve an orkut account.. and i’m using it since 2 years.. but for some reason.. my company have blocked the site.. Is there any safe way.. from which i can log on to orkut. ??

  9. Is there any way to hide the scraps from the others without actually deletting them? I want the scrap counter growing but dont want to let others to read it anytime..

  10. Hi! I would love to connect to Orkut so that I may communicate with old and new friends! Could you please send me an invitation? Thanks!

  11. Shyam: You can use IndianPad’s excellent and *fast* HTTP proxy: Just go to http://beta.indianpad.com and fill in the form (with the URL you want to go to) and check whatever options you want.

    *BUT* make sure you don’t use this to compromise your work / office policy. If you get caught using this kind of work-around to get to the blocked sites, the management and your supervisors can *track* which sites you go to, how often, etc.

    Using this kind of proxy to “bounce – out” of corporate rules and restrictions is an excellent way to get noticed, and hence FIRED.

    Instead, I’d suggest you get a job in a “freer” organization, that has a more relaxed Internet usage policy which lets you increase your work productivity instead.

    To sum up my point: Use this work-around if you want to, BUT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

  12. Okay, anybody who wants an Orkut invitation: ASK!

    There’s a feedback form on my site, which will let you put in any contact information that you want to, that only I will see.

    If you want an Orkut, Gmail or any other kind of invite just put it down on the contact Dhiraj page, and I’ll see what I can do.

    I’m not promising anything, but I’m signed up to a lot of betas (and have access to more) on the net out there, and I don’t mind passing invites around.

    Oh and make sure you put down an email which you *use* on the contact form, I’ll be sending you an invite, there.

  13. Hi.. I’ve an orkut account.. and i’m using it since Feb.. but for some reason.. my company have blocked the site.. Is there anyother way.. from which i can log on to orkut. ??


  14. i have many friends but none seems to have an orkut account. frustrated to read your scrap book and not know what you are talking about

  15. *EXCUSE ME* ????

    The idea with these tools is not to flood friends’ scrapbooks. These are tools to be able to communicate with each other on Orkut since the underlying functionality has not evolved to meet the needs of the people.

    Please look elsewhere.

    Or I’ll start calling you a Spammer. Or maybe even something worse.

  16. i try many time to flood my friend scraobook ..but it’s come page error.know wht shoukl i do plz eply me soon.dis code is not working..

  17. This post is real helpful for Orkut users. Let me try out this new scrapboy… and check out the usability, I might be able to comment more on this later.

  18. Hmmmm…….. I don’t really know of a Windows Mobile client (that’s the operating system of your PDA) for orkut.

    Interesting point though. I think a better idea would be to use a better browser than the Internet Explorer on your PDA. I think Opera’s got a Windows Mobile client that should work.

  19. Hi,
    above blog was helpful, definitely! However I have querie, & I don’t have any answer yet. Hope u can help.
    I use a I-mate Jam PDA & seems that it does not support orkut. Is there anything like scrapboy or outlook using which I can access orkut scrapbook without getting into brouser! plz help!
    Thanks in advance

  20. you are right! Its a freaking thing.A very compicated community!
    Usually Brazilians are more serious into this, while Indians seems to freak out.Indians usually use it mostly because popular email sites are blocked at workspace! And are South Indians. If you are into Branding, its pretty much evident that Indians go for recoimmendations rather than facts and figures while buying stuff! I guess thts pretty much what happened with Orkut too.

  21. Hello Dhiraj,

    I find your blog very interesting, I’ve spent quite some time here. But I have to add my two cents…. I think orkut is popular among we Brazilians because of the way we socialize in real life. Old acquaintances do much more than say hi. People catch up on the major news of each other, actually enjoy seeing the pictures of family members, and we check the friends of friends to see if there are common acquaintances. In Brazil we socialize with the families of our friends, and when we ask about a friend’s parents and siblings, we really want to know about them, despite the generation gap they also became dear friends after many shared meals and deep conversations that we might not have had with our own parents.

    I know many people who leave their profiles almost empty (that is, they are not boasting about their accomplishments), and erase the messages on the scrapbook after they were read and answered, in order to protect their privacies. Even so, we drop by other people’s pages all the time, to see if there are any news, to pay a compliment on the most recent profile’s picture, to tell that a common acquaintance who is not in orkut sent a hello or got a beautiful haircut.

    Of course we don’t carry deep conversations through scrapbooks. But one message here and another there break the ice. There are people from whom I keep good memories but have not seen in 20 years. It would be awkward to give them a call on the telephone. Through orkut I casually reencounter them again, and after a few scraps it may be that we leave it that way, it was nice to see each other but we keep carrying our busy lives. Or it may be we realize that we still have much in common, then we start to exchange frequent scraps and e-mails, and eventually plan for a meeting.

    I have been living in US for a few years, and when I joined orkut I also joined some other social networks like facebook and friendster, heavily populated by Americans, to compare. Like the real life conversations with acquaintances here in US, the climate is one of “how nice to see you” and “how are you doing” and goodbye. Everything is fine, thanks, and if much more, we comment about the weather.

  22. @preity: Nice site. A bit advertisement heavy, but the tools are definitely interesting and seem to work. I didn’t check them all out but did have a look at the Glitter maker (it’s the first item, I think).

    Good find.

  23. I like the post very much it is very informative to new users of orkut and i want say that even old users dont know about orkut very much. any way thanks for the information. Siaar – Siaar Group.

  24. i like the orkut glitter scraps maker … that the thing i always use to scrap my orkut friends .. by the way i like your header .. you got good photoshop skills :)

  25. Hi…Dhiraj i really want 2 know something from u????? please help me …… mai orkut par ek bande ko friend request bhej na chahati hu but jab mai osse add as a friend karti hu.. to vaha likha aata hai please enter his e-mail ID .. or bina e-mail id enter keye friend request nahi jaa rahi.. kya koi tarika hai id pata karne ka kisi or tarike se friend request bheji jaa sakti hai….. please tell me as soon as possible… i m waiting 4 ur helping tips…. please….. reply soon…..

  26. iam unable to see my friends list and scrap book though iam being able to open my open my orkut account

Comments are closed.