Every web site that’s popular, at all, and gets written about in major media, has to be the fuckin’ zeitgiest, what-it-all-MEANS, funhouse-mirror-to-the-internet sign of the times. Can’t it just be a thing?
Chatroulette. What is the significance of Chatroulette? What does Chatroulette mean for society? Is Chatroulette the past or the future? Do we want a return to anonymity? Are we hungry for human connection?
Chatroulette is a place, where you go and you see a stranger on a webcam, you chat a little, you feel awkward, and then you go drinking with your friends.
If you’re a reporter, someone in the news room says, cover this Chatroulette, it’s on the Digg and the Fark and the Gawkers.
You go on, and you’re a nerdy white person, the other people on here, they look a little like you but younger, cause they’re a little nerdy. Anyway they keep clicking away from you, because you’re boring, you’re a reporter. Even if you’re the young cool one in the office because you were on Facebook before the company network was on Facebook and you twitter things that don’t include a bit.ly link.
So you flick through, Mr. Reporter, you see some pets, you see college kids, because college is where all the memes grow, a really interesting angle to pursue but you don’t talk about that, Mr. New York Times or Vanity Fair or CNN, because there is one way your piece is gonna go:
1. “This is what Chatroulette is blah blah.” Your readers are old, all the young people heard the name and they got it.
2. “You meet rrrrrandom people!” Yes. That is what the site is. Say two words, “it’s interesting,” and move on. The rest, it’s your own Chatroulette experience, it is as boring to me as you describing your dreams. That’s why you didn’t have a good photo to run with the story, that’s why you used that same goddamn screencap of the guy in the leopard costume from the very first fucking blog post about this, on someone’s Tumblr before it got copied from Tweetpic.
3. “There are dicks.” Surprise! Pope shits in woods. It’s a semi-anonymous chat site. Of course everyone uses it to jerk off. If I weren’t scared of every blogger getting a screencap of my little peener, I’d be wanking it to Chatroulette too. It’s free flashing where no one can report you.
4. “What does it mean, argle bargle braum braum.” It means there’s a fad on the internet, it’s catchy, it’s like Omegle, which Jesus Christ your readers don’t even know, and it would have been helpful if you made the comparison. Because Chatroulette is so interesting since you’re making a more visceral connection, your brain is hard-wired to love faces, this is so much more than Omegle.
But it’s still nothing, which is why your news report sounds like bullshit. It’s not even a viable company. It’s half Omegle, which is not even trying to be a business, and half Justin.tv, which, god, look at their homepage and the top show is a guy trying to live in a metal box. And Andrew W.K. is doing an interview somewhere.
YouTube can’t get ads and they know what their videos are showing, Chatroulette is a toy, it’ll be around as long as the guy wants to run it, but it will never. matter. Except for the forum for sharing tits that girls have flashed on cam, which is where I’m going now.
(Photo from danalaurengoldstein.blogspot.com)