The most recent internet thing is Chatroulette, and as a person who uses the internet, I figured it was my responsibility to use it. I started out with a basic idea of what to expect- guys rubbing themselves, girls showing their breasts, and then the other general silliness that anonymity and a webcam can breed.
I was surprised by many things, the first was that there were way more penises than I was expecting, and far fewer breasts. I suppose I was hoping for the best. But the number one thing that I did not count on was the meeting of genuinely interesting people from other cultures that you are given the opportunity to interact with. I say given the opportunity because they can always “Next” you if you are too boring, ugly, or creepy, and you can do the same to them. If one wants to actually get anything interesting out of chatroulette, one must actively try.
At first getting “Nexted” stings with a slight tinge of rejection, and some people go further, calling you “Kinda ugly” before moving on, which hurts more. But after you realize that sometimes people just arn’t very interesting, and you have to “Next” if you want to continue to be entertained, it gets easier.
This attitude doesn’t really speak well to my generation, but I suppose its why things like speed dating are on the rise. CR promotes the idea that if you don’t like what you see, you can hit a button and make your reality change. Another downside to CR aside from the trolls and the callousness of “Nexting” is that the website is a mess, it doesn’t really have the bandwidth to support all the video being broadcast by its users- so sometimes in the middle of an interesting conversation with a couple from Belgium, it disconnects and you are left tumbling through the dregs of CR once again.
What is next for CR? Marketing. Viral Marketing video loops being spammed through virtual webcams by businesses advertising porn sites to the lonely creepers, beer commercials for the people who hang out there and drink, and pretty much any commercial geared to our hypertexted generation.
CR is not for the faint of heart, it should be approached with caution, and with a strong self esteem, but I think that everyone should at least try it out to meet new people and in my case, practice Spanish. Like most of the internet, it is a mixed blessing, and one should be ready for anything.