Friends Among Strangers; Try Your Luck at ChatRoulette
Do you recall the days before the Internet existed? When you may have spent a quality afternoon getting to know your next-door neighbours, rather than chatting with strangers or blogging the day away? Those days are long gone, and today there’s no shortage of social-media sites in which users can introduce themselves, their ideas and their thoughts to anyone who will listen, view or read. You can share whatever you like – within legal limits – with the rest of the world. Perhaps your ideas will be received, or perhaps they’ll be lost in cyberspace. With all the communication, you won’t ever know.
But now a new site is changing things by allowing you to interact with total strangers at random. If they find you interesting and worthwhile, then you’ll continue chatting. If they find you dull or a waste of time, they’ll click on to a new stranger – no hard feelings. ChatRoulette simply requires a webcam and at least two interested parties. Jump onto their very basic site (http://chatroulette.com), and as soon as you press Go, you’ll be connected to someone else in the world. They could be across the globe or across the street. You may become great friends, or you may simply chat for ten seconds. As soon as one party grows uninterested, he or she clicks “next” and is connected to a new stranger to try to make a match.
ChatRoulette provides a basic new medium for online users to connect with others. In a society where human contact and personal interaction is slowly fading away, ChatRoulette provides another channel for people to meet, share and discuss whatever suits their fancy. Unlike blogs, Facebook postings or Tweats, ChatRoulette is a two-way, interactive space to see and speak with others in real time. If you want to meet interesting people, and you don’t mind a few false starts, this is the place for you.
However, like any social media site, users are responsible for monitoring the personal content that they share and post online. ChatRoulette is not without its potential hazards; be aware that anything shared over webcams could be recorded and posted elsewhere. As with any public site, don’t share too many personal details or other private information. The site does its best to monitor content. It requests that users report inappropriate videos and it does not tolerate obscene or pornographic material, but all users should be aware of the potential for abuse. During these current controversial times of potential internet monitoring by different governments such as the Australian and Chinese, we can’t help wonder whether ChatRoulette will be banned in the near future. What a shame if we are cut off from this opportunity to interact with other internet users around the world.
The bottom line is that ChatRoulette provides a unique and innovative way to meet new people and connect with others. But, as with all social media sites, proceed with caution. Be sure to monitor yourself and others on the site, and don’t take offence if someone clicks “next”.