Orkut, Goodbye? Hello?

Orkut was a social media networking site launched in 2004 owned and operated by Google and named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten a Google employee created that ended in 2014.  The social media platforms purpose was for its users to be able to find communities.  As stated by L. Meghan Mahoney and Tang Tang, “Community is a natural necessity for humans” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017 ).  With that being said we can see why social media has become a hit and is addicting, is because its users want to find places where the feel they belong, where they can communicate with other users of like minds.  Social media works because it allows consumers/users to communicate with each other as well as with the platform rather than the business or platform talking “with a mass audience with a single media message” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).  By giving users the ability to communicate on social media it allows them to share their experiences and stories.

Orkut was a user-friendly platform which made it easy for users to join and move through the site to join communities. It allowed its users to:

Rate other users on how sexy, cool and trustworthy they found each other

Privacy concerns for its users was high

Users could search for classmates and friends

Communities that users could join online schools, workplaces, and residential street groups

Allowed direct communication with others, recommend products and services to their friends with ease

Combine technology and culture (Mahoney & Tang, 2019).

Orkut was a leading social media site in Brazil.  Because outdoor advertising is banned in Brazil there was a wave online marketing.  According to Loren Baker there are several reasons Orkut was a hit in Brazil. Those reasons consisted of:

Brazilians are just very community-oriented.

Orkut is easy to pronounce in Portuguese making it easy to remember.

Users can prequalify the friends they make.

Mobility ease of use.

Competition, awards, fan citations, friendship offerings (Baker, 2009).

Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

Being able to attract others in the community that had the same connections which built a strong community of “150,000 communities” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019).  Orkut was a trailblazer in showing how to utilize social networking.  In being one of the firsts, Orkut lost their advantage through:

Novelty wearing off.

Technology changing (growing) and not following the changes.

Stopped meeting the needs of their target audience.

Functionality problems with the website (Mahoney & Tang, 2019).

Competition such as Facebook used better coding and grew faster.

In order to continue to be a leader in social media a platform must keep up with technological advances as well as the needs of their target audience.  Although the interface was user friendly, the issue of slow loading graphics, outdated coding, and something as simple as the homepage being the users profile versus, “…Facebook and Twitter both are different, because the home page is about other people. As soon as you log in, you see what others are doing” (Bhasin, 2018).  Plain and simply put, Orkut fell short because they did not keep up with technology or their users needs.  In this fast-paced world, a company must keep up with the newest tech to stay relevant and to keep their users attention.  One thing I would suggest to Orkut which has rebranded to “Hello Network,” under the same website www.orkut.com and launched in India in 2018, is that they must research their competition, ask their users for feedback to find out what they want, and to use better coding.  According to Dutta Moupiya, Orkut stated, “This app is built specifically for the new mobile-generation seeking to bring people together around their interests to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections” (Moupiya, 2018).  One can hope that Orkut Büyükkökten has learned from the mistakes made with Orkut and that their Hello app will bring him much success and their users what they need and want.  

What are the issues that you find with the platforms you use?

Bhasin, H. (2018, March 09). 7 marketing lessons from Orkut – orkut marketing lessons. Retrieved December 20, 2019, from https://www.marketing91.com/7-marketing-lessons-orkut/

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Moupiya, D. (2018, April 11). New alternative to facebook, Orkut founder Launches hello app in India. Retrieved December 20, 2019, from https://www.techgenyz.com/2018/04/11/orkut-founder-launches-hello-app-india/

One App to Rule Them All

In America we have a lot of different apps to do a plethora of different things.  Such as Facebook where you can share pictures, stories, comment on other users’ pictures and stories, as well as buy and sell things.  There is also Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter to name a few more apps that we use consistently to share our world.  In China, however they aren’t allowed to use outside apps as they are banned.  They have Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”) which is also called WeChat.  Weixin was founded in 2011 by Tencent and has quickly become the main social media platform that “allows its users to send messages, share news, and pictures via their mobile phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017)  I find myself fascinated by the thought of having just one app that would take care of all my needs versus having to use several apps that clog up my cell phone and if I’m honest can be a time suck. 

Reading the case study about Weixin, I have found out that the application is not only a “combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and eBay” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017), it is also user friendly.  One would think with so much packed into an app that it would be hard to navigate because of complexity. Mahoney and Tang state, “Weixin allows its users to record messages by simply holding on one button and talking, which saves the trouble of typing Chinese characters on the phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).  To have such ease when trying to get a message out makes the app a dream application.  There is also the fact that when news is being read on the application it doesn’t send the reader to an outside website the reader is linked directly to the URL within the app!  Oh, how glorious that would be to have that function within the apps we currently use.  Shannon Liao from The Verge says, “WeChat has 902 million daily users, and about 38 billion messages are sent on the platform every day. Last year, Tencent added mini-apps to WeChat, creating an app store of sorts: inside WeChat, you can play games, pay bills, find local hangouts, book doctor appointments, file police reports, hail taxis, hold video conferences, and access bank services. State-run media and government agencies also have official WeChat accounts, where they can directly communicate with users” (Liao, 2018).  For instance, when I use Facebook a lot of the time the app will send me to the news website and completely take me out of Facebook.  A true annoyance to be sure, because if I’m, using Facebook I want to use Facebook and not be redirected somewhere else.

It’s amazing that this one application has so many functions that are just helpful in everyday life.  If this type of app came to America we would not need, Lyft, Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, various news applications, banking apps and a whole lot more applications would become defunct.  I honestly don’t see this happening here or perhaps anywhere else because that would most likely mean those other platforms would be out of business.  There is also the fact that this app is a state-run application and as we know most of us don’t want the government in our business let alone in our applications.  Tencent also pays attention to what their consumers want and need by adding campaigns that speak to those needs.  One campaign in particular which had their users responding was their 2014 “Qiang Hongbao” campaign (Red Envelope), this campaign allowed for users to link their bank accounts to a Weixin account and send and receive virtual red envelopes.  Mahoney and Tang say, “Red envelope is a traditional Chinese culture that includes a monetary gift that Chinese people give to their family and friends during holidays” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).

China seriously has one app that rules their world and I find it fascinating. Ge Wang, Wei Zhang, and Runxi Zeng state, “In China specifically, socializing on WeChat has become an indispensable part of users’ everyday lives, and WeChat is the most important social media application for maintaining users’ online interpersonal relationships” (Wang, Zhang, & Zeng, 2019).  What do you think?  Would you like an app that did all those things this app can do?  This application is part of China’s daily life because it involves all the things that they need to get through their day.  Do you think such an application would be successful here in America?  I’d like to think so, however as I stated before I think that other platforms would find some reason to not want it as it would interrupt our free enterprise.

References

Liao, S. (2018, February 01). How WeChat came to rule China. Retrieved December 07, 2019, from https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/16721230/wechat-china-app-mini-programs-messaging-electronic-id-system

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Wang, G., Zhang, W., & Zeng, R. (2019). WeChat use intensity and social support: The moderating effect of motivators for wechat use. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 244-251. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2018.10.010

Cyberactivism,Social Media, & Change

Let’s face it everyone wants to be that person who does something great. If you want to get your target audience motivated you mobilize them by giving them a reason to act socially responsible as well as showing that you support a cause or charity.

According to L. Meghan Mahoney and Tang Tang in their book Strategic Social Media from Marketing to Social change, “Humans want to do the right thing” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). For instance in October National Breast Cancer Awareness is celebrated by organizations, individuals, and businesses. Social media is one of the most popular places where those who are advocating for a cure will post. Doing something great has been made easier because of the invention and innovation of the internet. People are now able to click on links, search the net for causes and charities to donate to with ease without leaving their homes.

In the case study Breast Cancer Meme in Mahoney & Tang’s book states that, “Various forms of Internet memes circulate on Facebook to help spread awareness” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). What better way to garner support for social good than to be where there are according to Statista, “2.45 billion monthly active users” (Statista, 2019). In order for cyberactivism to succeed those who want to make sure their message goes viral and encourages behavior change go where the “people” are.

The campaign involved private messages being sent to women where they were asked to, “put a single color as their status update” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). This color signified the color of the bra the women were wearing along with their name. This action mobilized women and brought awareness to breast cancer. According to The Susan G Komen Foundation began Friday 8th January with 135 fans on their Facebook page. By 5:30 in the evening, they had 135,000. As of today they now have 138,606 fans” (Macleod, 2010). Social media and cyberactivism go hand in hand. If you want to create a buzz about something you believe in the best place to post that would be by using social media.

A few questions to make you think. What do you believe in? Do you think posting to a social media platform the best way to get your message out? What does change look like for you? A few questions to make you think. What do you believe in? Do you think posting to a social media platform the best way to get your message out? What does change look like for you?

References

Macleod, D. (2015, January 09). What color is your bra for breast cancer awareness. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/what-color-is-your-bra-for-breast-cancer-awareness/

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Statista. (2019). Facebook users worldwide 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

A Matter of Choice in the Digital Age.

As someone who has to wear glasses the options for places to buy them can seem vast. In my view, the idea of having to go into a doctor’s office and get an examine, then have to buy their glasses which can be very expensive can be tiring.  Warby Parker is an online company that started in 2010 when a bunch of college students got together because they were unhappy with the choices for prescription glasses.

The classmates decided to start an online delivery center for sunglasses and prescription glasses which would open up avenues for those who couldn’t afford the high prices. traveling to stores, and the usual need of an appointment in order to see an eye doctor.  The fact that the college students started a business from a seeming need is to be admired. The students saw a need and found a way to fill that need creatively.

One of the great things about this company is the fact that they make it easy in this fast-paced world to get the glasses you need without having to step foot out of your home.  One of the great campaigns is the “Home Try-On Campaign” where customers can order five pairs of glasses, have them sent to them no charge and t hen find the pair they want and return the others at no charge.  This would be something I would love to do because it gives me the chance to find something I like without all the hassle of going into the store and then I don’t have to pay to get them shipped to me or ship them back! What a deal.

The great thing about Warby Parker is that they respond to their customers comments on their social media which makes the customer feel like it’s not just about the money that the company makes but that they actually care about them as a person.  Warby Parker’s use of social media isn’t done to just sell but to actually take the time to get to know their customers.  By allowing their customers to generate content on their social media it gives their products a more personable feel and lessen the dissonance and disconnection that customers might feel in ordering online and not in person.  As a consumer myself I find that if a company engages with me and allows me to put content on their sites it means that they are transparent and trustworthy.

The other fact that I love about Warby Parker’s as a company is that they are socially conscious and will give one pair of glasses to someone in need when a customer buys a pair of glasses.  It was interesting to find out that Warby Parker to date has given out,500,000 pairs of glasses.  A company willing to help others prove that they aren’t just in it to gain money.  As a conscious buyer if I know a company is helping out others, I will tend to buy from that company because I feel good about my purchase being able to help others. A company who’s socially conscious is a company that cares about people.

I will preface this with the fact that I haven’t used Warby Parker’s services. However I have used other competitors such as Zenni.com and the like. For me the information about how Warby Parker does business is most helpful and may influence my next purchasing choice.

I’m curious. What makes you go to a certain company and buy their product or service?