Televisionist: Chatroulette | Rock Candy

Televisionist: Chatroulette

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DOING IT DOGGY STYLE: Better than a wang.

CHATROULETTE
www.chatroulette.com

There are folks I know who completely and utterly freak out every time they learn there is some new bit of information about them on the Internet. Reverse address lookup that reveals my phone number? Ahhhhhhh! Property tax records online? We're all going to die! Goo-gle has a photo of my house taken from outer space? Roving bands of criminals are going to come to my home — out of the millions of others that can be seen on the same site — and kill me! It's enough to make the dedicated anti-Luddite smile. Those people probably DO NOT want to give Chatroulette a try. Developed in 2009 by a 17-year-old high school student from Moscow, the site has skyrocketed in popularity over the past year, with an estimated 35,000 visitors online there at any one time. As the name implies, chatters — who must have a working webcam — are randomly paired with another visitor to the site. If the conversation gets boring (or you notice the guy has a poster of Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs” on his wall), all you have to do is hit a button and you automatically flip to the next chatter. I've tried it out, and it's loads of fun — a great way to breach some of the coldness and distance that digital interaction is notori-ous for, not to mention kill off some of the deceitfulness that people can get up to online when you're not looking at them face to face. If you don't deal well with rejection, however, you might want to pop in a movie instead.

-David Koon

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