The main thing about orkut.com that’s different from other social networking services is the network view it gives you of people’s friends. They’re arranged according to how many other Orkut users count them as their friends. If a user has a lot of friends, only the ones who have most friends themselves show up in the network view – the most popular in the middle of the patchwork friendship quilt. The strength of social ties is not visualised at all.
I’ve never met the people in the centre of my Orkut network, though I’ve communicated with them, I like them, and I expect I’ll hang out with them when I’m at a conference they’re at or in the same town as them. Luckily my network’s small enough that the people I care most about are still visible, albeit on the outskirts. In my standard profile view, though, there’s only room for nine friends. Out of these nine, I’ve only physically met two, and while I liked them both a lot, and I look forward to seeing them again, I’ve actually only met them once. My closest friends and collaborators, people far more important to me, are already invisible.
I suppose any representation of reality will have some blind spots. This one seems fairly severe.