Orkut, Google's social networking tool, is only open to people who've been invited to join the service. This means that once a well-connected Burning Man attendee shows up in Orkut, lots of burners follow.
Which is how it is that suddenly, Portuguese speakers (presumably mostly Brazilian, given Brazil's kick-ass connectivity and widespread adoption of moblogging, blogging and other viral, social tools) outnumber Yankees on the service nearly two-to-one. There's now a vicious fight raging between USAns and Portuguese-speakers, as the former group is displaced, for nearly the first time, by another linguistic group.
(I'm reminded of a story that a product manager for Hotmail once told me -- "Our growth curve was pretty steady, then one day someone sent an email to someone in India with 'Get a free email account at hotmail.com' in the footer and the next day we singed up half a million users").
Tammy Soldaat, a Canadian, got a sample of Brazilian wrath recently when she posted a message asking whether her community site on body piercing should be exclusive to people who speak English.
Brazilian Orkut users quickly labeled her a "nazi" and "xenophobe."
"After that I understood why everyone is complaining about these people, why they're being called the 'plague of Orkut,"' she said in a site called "Crazy Brazilian Invasion."
We presume it can tell by the pixels.
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Finally. It’s been almost 3 years.
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