Filed under: Zeitgeist
It rained. Sheets and sheets. For days.
But that was just the bed that was made for strange. This weekend, it seems, is when Chatroulette (very VERY NSFW) shacked up in the spare rooms of our imaginations.
The New York Times states: “created just three months ago by a 17-year-old Russian named Andrey Ternovskiy, (Chatroulette) drops you into an unnerving world where you are connected through webcams to a random, fathomless succession of strangers from across the globe.”
17! Check out Fast Company’s coverage of the bidding war between the U.S. and Russia over where the company will end up. Some estimates put the site’s worth somewhere between €10 million and €30 million.
The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they’re staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next,” instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal on many levels.
The ever awesome Annik puts it this way:
If you haven’t checked out ChatRoulette, I highly recommend it. This kept me and my housemate entertained for no less than 2 hours during last Saturday’s never-ending downpour and at first I was embarrassed to be talking to complete strangers in my pajamas, but by the end I needed to be prized away from the computer. (and I do heartily suggest you visit her site for some seriously good funny)
During my session, the average “chat” lasted about 5 seconds and I observed several people drinking malt liquor, two girls making out, many many guys who disconnected as soon as they saw I wasn’t female, several girls who disconnected after seeing my face (but not before I caught the looks of disgust on theirs), 3 couples having sex, and 11 erect penises. In a Malkovichian moment, I was even connected to myself once…and then the other me quickly disconnected. In short, Chatroulette is pretty much the best site going on the internet right now.
New York Magazine’s Sam Anderson braved the fray in his piece The Human Shuffle Is ChatRoulette the Future of the Internet or Its Distant Past?
Although ChatRoulette feels radically new, it’s built entirely out of recycled parts—it’s just a potent combination of programs we’ve all been familiar with for years. Web chat has been around since the beginning of the Internet. Skype made the Star Trek–like experience of instant synchronized video communication an everyday reality back in 2003. But these experiences were almost always curated: The point was to chat and Skype with co-workers and friends, or at least with strangers who shared your interests
I really like this kernel
The internet has always been defined by (and drawn much of its energy from) the tension between chaos and control—and over the last ten years, web culture has skewed heavily toward control. Our most popular new online tools—Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Digg—were designed to help us tame the web’s wildness, to tag its outer limits and set up user-friendly taxonomies. ChatRoulette is, in this sense, a blast from the Internet past. It’s the anti-Facebook, pure social-media shuffle.
Once you dive in, there’s no way to manage the experience—to filter users, search for friends, or backtrack and reconnect with someone you chatted with an hour ago. There’s only the perpetual forward motion of “next.” It’s the Wild West: a stupid, profound, thrilling, disgusting, totally lawless boom.
Dip your toe in and catch up on the latest random adventures here: The Best of Chatroulette
UPDATE: and it had to happen…the first pitchslapping I’ve seen:
If you rise above the sea of failing men and charm a woman on Chaatroulette, we’ll give you a token for real life date-winning outfit: A French Connection voucher for 250 pounds
from Manifesto Feb 26 2010
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