I have a confession to make about my newest guilty pleasure: Chatroulette.com. It seems as if Facebook has found some competition in being the newest way to procrastinate for a college student.
Of course, something this enticing could only come from the Internet; but unlike Facebook, where there’s an extent to which you can look at the newly uploaded photos from your friends’ weekends, Chatroulette can hold your attention for a longer amount of time.
Chatroulette.com, created by a 17 year-old Russian high-schooler, is, in a nutshell, an uncensored Skype on shuffle that is on steroids.
People don’t need to register to use it, though the site asks they be at least 16 years old. Crowding around your laptop with your friends, in my opinion, is the best way to do it, as I would never venture into doing it solo. That just seems creepy.
Here’s how it works: as you’re matched randomly with a complete stranger, you can sit and Web chat with the ability to instant message as well.
However, once you’re not feeling it with this individual anymore, a simple click of the “next” button will connect you with another stranger, as your previous partner is catapulted somewhere else into cyberspace.
The chance of finding them again is close to one in a million. To me, Chatroulette is humorous, and if taken seriously, can be a complete self-confidence killer. The trick is to not take the notion of being “nexted” seriously. Hopefully, no one takes it to heart.
Otherwise they will feel like the pubescent kid in junior high gym class who doesn’t get chosen to play basketball.
The other humorous effect of Chatroulette is something I’m sure anyone has seen if they’ve been on the site for longer than five minutes.
The absurd amount of male genitalia on this site is outrageous, and even more outrageous if you’re computer freezes because you keep clicking next over and over due to the fact that you and your friends just want what’s going on to disappear.
Chatroulette bans “obscene, offending, pornographic material” and says it will block users who violate these rules, although that does not seem to trouble some people.
Still, as many weirdos as there are out there, my roommate and I did seem to find some normal people in the midst of what seemed like a compilation of deleted scenes from a porno.
We got to put to use our five years of high school level French with an 18 year-old French-speaking guy from just outside of Paris. He knew about as much English as we did French, it turned out.
After the usual, “hello,” “where are you from?” and “how old are you?” were exchanged, my roommate and I found that we were lacking in the translation department.
Unfortunately for him, we weren’t as fluent as we thought we were, as he became frustrated with our amateur translations we concocted via an online translator. We were “nexted” after seven minutes.
Countless people and male sex organs later, we realized homework was the more productive way to go. Still, that doesn’t stop people from signing on again when they come to a boring point in their studies.