Orkut: From Success to Failure

Do you use any social media sites? What would you do if one of these sites closed? Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the closing of Orkut.

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

On September 30th, 2014, the social media company Orkut closed. At one time, it was the most popular social media website in Brazil and India. But things in the social media world change quickly. Many social media websites never become popular. Others become very popular, but then unexpectedly fail. Now, Facebook is the world’s most popular social media website. But will it always be? Today's Spotlight is on the success and failure of social media companies.

Voice 2 

People are using social media more than ever. In fact, studies show that about 1 in every 4 people around the world use social media! However, not everyone uses the same social media products. In Russia, many people use VK. In China, Renren is popular. Different social media websites provide different services and appeal to different people.

Voice 1 

For many years, Orkut was very successful. The internet company Google started Orkut in 2004. By 2008, it was the most popular social media website in both India and Brazil. Google even moved Orkut's main international offices to Brazil. Jose Calazans is a business expert from São Paulo, Brazil. He told CNN,

Voice 3 

"Until Orkut arrived in 2004, internet use in Brazil was not growing. When people here started buying computers and going to internet cafes, it was only to use Orkut."

Voice 2 

By 2011, Brazil had the 5th largest population of social media users in the world. And Orkut was the main social media website they used. Facebook recognized that Brazil was an important country for social media. It wanted Brazilians to use Facebook.

Voice 1 

Facebook had some advantages that Orkut did not. It had more international users. So Brazilians could connect with more people around the world. Facebook also offered many different app programs to play games, to organize friends and to share ideas. Orkut did not have app programs. Facebook even created an app to help people change from Orkut to Facebook. This program helped people connect with their Orkut friends on Facebook. It helped users leave Orkut and begin using Facebook more quickly.

Voice 2 

In 2011, the number of people using Facebook in Brazil increased by 192%. By 2012, more people in Brazil were using Facebook than Orkut. And by 2014, Google decided it could no longer compete with Facebook. And it announced that it was going to close Orkut completely.

Voice 1 

Now, Facebook is the most popular social media website in the world. Like Orkut, Facebook started in 2004. And like Orkut, Facebook enjoyed much success. By 2012, one billion people were on Facebook. And now, more than one out of every seven people in the world uses Facebook!

Voice 2 

However, many people believe that Facebook will not remain the most popular social media website for much longer. The business website, ‘The Marketing Bit’, reports that the average age of major internet companies is 11 years. Like Orkut, internet companies often become very popular. They are very successful over a short period of time. Then suddenly, they lose popularity and close. This can happen very quickly in the world of the internet. David Karp is a social media businessman. On the Charlie Rose television show, he said:

Voice 4 

"One of the surprising things about social media communities is how quickly they can grow. They can explode overnight. Suddenly, you have new app programs - these things that are connecting tens of millions of people. At the same time, once a few of your friends start to leave, the whole community can fall apart."

Voice 1 

Some experts compare this kind of social media activity to the spread of disease. Researchers suggest that social media acts like a virus. Viruses are spread through human contact. In the same way, social media spreads as more and more people connect on the Internet. Like a disease, it can infect large amounts of people in short amounts of time. However, once the disease loses power, people recover. When people lose interest in a particular kind of social media, they stop using it.

Voice 2 

In 2014, researchers at Princeton University used a disease model to study Facebook. Using this model, they proposed that 80% of people using Facebook would stop by 2017. Their research suggested that Facebook, like Orkut, would finally fail.

Voice 1 

Other experts believe that Facebook is too big to fail. Social media is about connecting with people. So it works best when people are all together. Facebook is already the social media choice of more than a billion people. So many experts believe this will keep Facebook successful. Facebook is also making a lot of money. This gives it power. It can buy other companies that are competing with it. It can also spend a lot of money to continually make it better.

Voice 2 

Other experts disagree. They believe that Facebook's size is the very thing that could make it fail. Eric Jackson is a business expert. He writes for money magazines and advises companies that invest in social media companies. In 2012, Jackson wrote a story for Forbes magazine. Like the Princeton researchers, he also claimed that Facebook would fail by 2017. He believes that the next generation of social media will be purely mobile. It will be designed particularly for mobile telephones. Facebook was first designed to be used on computers. And Jackson believes that Facebook is too big to change. He wrote,

Voice 5 

"Being the king means that you are big. And being big makes it hard to change quickly when new things happen in the market that threaten your leadership position."

Voice 1 

Right now, Facebook is the world's number one social media website. But can it stay that way? Or will it fail, like so many others? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Orkut: From Success to Failure.’

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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What social media sites do you use? What would you do if one of these sites closed?


Avatar Spotlight
Mss Flamboyant
said on September 29, 2014

Nowadays, everything can change so quickly, so we can not predict anythings. Yahoo had been so popular in my countries for 3 years, but now it is difficult to find persons who use yahoo. Social media brings us many benefits such as sharing photo, connecting people even using for work. So I hope that we can develop and improve that but not remove or delete it.
I am quite big fan of social media example facebook, sky, zalo…

Avatar Spotlight
said on September 30, 2014

Facebook is too big to fail
many companies use it to introduce their product, share many ideas
people use it to connect together in the world, even if they still use them to read news in their country and in the world
with me , I often go into facebook to learn english, play games, talk with the people I know or not. It’s hard to give up facebook
In the future, I think the facebook will continue to grow up. Because it is really important for people

Avatar Spotlight
said on September 30, 2014

facebook is the most famous social media in the world. all of people around the world use facebook. it is the great social media. i like it. Facebook is the world’s number one social media website.

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 02, 2014

Facebook is very popular social media website in the world. But i don’t like it because it spend a lot of my time. When i use facebook i have to spend 2 hours per day to use it

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 03, 2014

Of course, visiting the different social websites on the Internet is really useful to people but except for the usefulness there is a big danger hidden in it too. That is why mainly the children should be told, taught about convenient, careful behaviour on the Internet, the parents have to lead, control their children just as explain them in which way they can protect themselves from the ubiquitous illegal dealing. There is a sad fact criminality on the Internet still increases nowadays, the children’s confidence can be abused easily, unfortunately.
Thanks for great program!

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 09, 2014

I believe that Facebook will fail. But not now. Some of years it will be popular. But a world changes. It will be a new facebook. And we will use it.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on September 28, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Wednesday 28, September 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Robin Basselin, Jen Hawkins, Ryan Geertsma, and Mark Drenth:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!

I use my e-mail : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) from Microsoft company and the facebook but I do not access the facebook frequently because I do not have much time to do that. However I like so much facebook.
I do not believe that one of these sites will close or fail because these sites is very important to people to communicate with each other in the world. But if it happened, I would change to the next social media.

The best regards,
Severino Ramos

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on September 28, 2016

I use Facebook always, Twitter and Google + sometimes and another social websites just for funny.
But, in fact, that websites, especially Facebook, cause some problems to me. For example, when I posted my silfy photo with the Cross there problem happened between my small family and my big family because I’m Christian convert from Islam. Although I will continue because I have message (message of Jesus) to people especially Islamic people. Pray for me.
For me, no problem if one of these sites closed because I can find another :).
God bless you

Avatar Spotlight
said on September 28, 2016

Everything develops more quickly, especially on the internet. Facebook can fails like some other social media however it take a long time, it can’t fail in 2017.

Avatar Spotlight
said on October 01, 2016

facebook can being failed, but spotlighenglish can’t fail. I love a lot spotlight english program. Thanks a lot!

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Kim Kim
said on January 05, 2017

I’m using Facebook and several other social media, such as instagram, google +, twitter, and so on, but now i don’t often use facebook. Because it takes too much my time. Before i seem addicted to facebook. i used it all the time. And now most of people use it. They don’t even talk together when they sat next to each other. They use social media site to talk together. However, The social media sites have also help people to find together.

Avatar Spotlight
said on November 05, 2017

Hello spotlight team !
I believe that rapid development of nowadays technology , will lead to make Facebook from the past too , something more interesting will appear soon to replace Facebook . I don’t think it will be in the next year , because Facebook still developing itself constantly !
Thanks for the good subject .

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 22, 2019

I use Facebook and Twitter constantly. In familiar communication, I use only Whatsapp. When Orkut appeared, I think people were not prepared to use the new tool, and smartphones were not so developed like today.

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 22, 2019

Today is 22Aug2019, and Facebook continues to be a great company in the world of communication. It’s is clear that Eric Jackson is not so good business expert.

Avatar Spotlight
Lan Can
said on August 23, 2019

Nothing is forever. When I was a child, there was a TV named Dawoo which was a famous brand in Korean but now, it disappeared. When I was a student, I often used Yahoo and it was so fun at that time. I posted a lot of my notes on that but one day, I received an announcement that Yahoo blog would be cancelled. I was upset at that time but I had to accept. When I started to work, I had a Nokia mobile phone. Most of Vietnamese people used Nokia mobile phones at that time. But now… Where is Nokia?
In my opinion, Facebook will be like those. It cannot develop every year. One day, it will stop and it will fail. Everything we have on facebook today will be our memory… :)

Avatar Spotlight
said on September 01, 2019

First of all, I wanna thank Spotlight program for giving us that kind of story,
Disappear and appear is one of the common things in the world and it can be infected in every field, it’s not easy to popular for a long time in a field because everything depends on conditions and requirements. as I think, people are changing more quickly so their conditions and requirements are changing like that, if some field needs to keep their situation forever they have to contest with others,