Most people I know now have switched over accounts from Orkut to Facebook. Why? Because, well, Orkut started out as being more "exclusive" and everything, but in the end, the hundred different people wanting to do "fraandship" with you, with names like hotboy4u or sachinsexysmile just got annoying. On an average (in a random poll taken by two of my friends and me) if you're a girl and/or you have a photograph up, you'll get at least four friendship requests a week.
Moving on then to Facebook. Even though it's open to everyone, and you have photographs liberally scattered everywhere, most people leave you alone unless they know you. Or you know them. The format is slightly harder than Orkut, less wheee-cyber-sex and more minimalist, and the best part? You can't read other people's "walls" unless you know them. Which means you can snoop on your immediate circle, but can't, say, stalk your exgirlfriend. (or exboyfriend, in my case, as I see from my home page that he is now "friends" with many of my friends. It's like we're playing the staring game, I'm not adding him first, and I'm sure he's not going to extend an invitation for me, so it's basically about who caves first.)
The thing about Facebook, and about Orkut as well, I suppose, is the relationship status indicator. With Facebook, once you log in, you get a screen telling you what all your contacts have been up to, uploading pictures, changing their status messages and so on. And every now and then, you get a little indicator saying So-and-so is no longer listed as single, with a little red heart next to it. It's such a big deal, changing your profile indicators, almost like getting a joint bank account or moving in together. It's a mini-announcement, after which there is no turning back, and you need to think about your relationship status carefully, because if you change it again, bingo, up on the homepage comes an icon of a broken heart saying So-and-so is now single. It's a binding commitment, and enough to make you want to shoot yourself.
Orkut doesn't make it so painfully obvious. But, right up there on your profile page is a little space marked for your relationship status. You could be either single or committed or in an open marriage or married with kids and so on. Single screams out from the profile page, leading to more "fraandship" requests, but the smug committeds are left alone.
There is, of course, the choice not to show your relationship status at all. But that's like saying, "No comment" to a loaded question, everyone knows the real answer.
My mother calls Orkut my "dating website", as in, "Are you on your dating website again?" Even though I try to explain the concept behind a social networking site, the sociological implications, the six degrees of separation, the finding old friends again, the next time we have the conversation, usually in front of someone else, she'll say, "Oh, yes, eM was telling me about this dating website she met an old friend on." Leading to embarrasement and explainations from me, and the other person's raised eyebrows as they back away sloooooowly from the socially retarded girl. (Can I say retarded? No, right? Okay, socially challenged.)
When would I change my profile from SINGLE! SINGLE! SINGLE! to a quiet "in a relationship"? It would probably take some doing. A year or two of dating perhaps, before I was ready to make that kind of commitment.
EDIT: You might have missed the little box on my left sidebar directing you to vote for me. I've been nominated for my first ever Indiblog! Woo hoo! The only thing that confuses me is that I've been put in the category "Best Topical Indiblog", which is odd, because as far as I can remember, the only topic I write about is, um, me. So unless everyone else is waking up to the fact that the universe does in fact revolve around me, I'm at sea for an explaination. But dude! Seriously! Little ol' me with an Indiblog nomination! This is so exciting. If you enjoy this blog, (or if you're a troll, and think of how much trolling pleasure you could get if I actually won) then go on over here and vote. If you'd like *sigh* a view of who else is nominated so you can make a fair chance, blah blah blah, then the list of nominees is here. Vote for meeeeeeeeeeee. You know you want to.