What Really Is the Point of Chatroulette?

Chatroulette - > Looking for a random stranger...
Image by Capt Kodak via Flickr

By Tyler Williamson
Staff Writer

For those who may be a little behind what appears to be the latest craze, Chatroulette has been described by the anchors of ABC and New York Times’ reporters as “Facebook 2.0”. Many people have fell in love with the trend and get great excitement about the random chat selection process featured on Chatroulette. Stars and celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers and Paris Hilton have even used the program to interact with fans and also get a laugh in for their own personal enjoyment. Chatroulette itself is very interesting; some people think of it as a game, some think it of a delusional chat realm, while others believe it is an effective dating service.

Chatroulette was created by a seventeen-year-old high school student named Andrey Ternovskiy from Moscow, Russia. He has told New York Times that he created the program simply “for fun”.

“Everyone finds his own way of using the site. Some think it is a game, others think it is a whole unknown world, others think it is a dating service,” said Ternovskiy referring to Chatroulette. The site at this time remains free, and although Ternovskiy has received several offers to help him improve the project, he has insisted on just using enough advertisements to support the site’s bandwidth and running-time.

And the fact of the matter, with the way Chatroulette is run, you never know who may appear as the stranger you communicate with over your webcam. And sometimes this aspect promotes a lot of inappropriate, exhibitionist behavior causing 1 in every 10 “clicks” to be a full frontal nude male. Users of the site can do virtually whatever they please in front of their webcam while on Chatroulette, so it is definitely not intended for those who may be a little squeamish. Despite the fact that male users outnumber females twenty-to-one, Chatroulette gets about twenty-thousand users a night. Parents should never let their children near this website, but if you are of a mature age and can handle some obscene behavior, it is not hard to get a laugh out of using Chatroulette once in a while.

So how exactly does the site work? It is really simple; basically, you are just assigned randomly to communicate with a stranger who can be living in any part of the world. Once you start the video chat, you can leave at any time and switch to a different person if you do not like what you are seeing. Most chat sessions typically only last from a couple seconds to a couple minutes, depending on how well the chemistry is going between the person you were assigned to chat with. And remember, someone can cancel the chat with you just as fast as you try to cancel it with them.

Could Chatroulette be the next biggest thing in social media? Most experts believe not. The whole setup of the site is just far too undeveloped and lacks the elements that create such powerful social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Tim Walker of The Independent Newspaper has said that it has a great deal of potential, but will most likely just become another Internet fad like a “firework burst with a fast fade”.

It looks like for now that Chatroulette will merely be just a way to have a good time with friends after a night of boredom or even a little intoxication. Just be warned as there is almost no way to monitor or prevent inappropriate behavior which can tend to be quite graphic. And since there is also no way of being banned from the site once you violent any of the terms of agreement, the same pervert may just pop back up again for another round of Chatroulette!

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