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Chat Roulette - what's all the fuss about?!

Tim Aldiss

Well it seems there’s another phenomenon gripping social networks that’s not going away – Chat Roulette ( ).

It’s not actually a social media phenomenon but it’s certainly getting talked about and there are some really funny videos starting to emerge.

hot-or-not1Chat Roulette follows in the footsteps of other classic image related tools like the hotornot website. The principal has evolved somewhat. Instead of voting an anonymous image of someone up or down you now get the chance of casting an instant live vote on live video by decided whether or not you like the look of someone enough to stop and chat.

It’s yet another brilliantly simple use of the technology that we all know and love and is now common place among us.

icq3Instant messaging has been around for as long as the web, but was made popular by the likes of Yahoo, AOL’s AIM and ICQ. It became more advanced and added extra features but it wasn’t really until Google added video via it’s Gtalk application that broadband was prolific enough to carry the extra data.

What’s so clever about Chat Roulette is not the use of video IM – in fact you have to type, you can’t actually voice chat – it’s the fact that you are randomly connected to one of in excess of 20,000 people online, all of whom are sitting (or are they?!) in front of their webcam waiting to talk to you.

chat-roulette2It’s fascinating, mesmerising and annoying all at the same time. M’learned ex-colleague Phil Buxton conducted his open little mini review over on the iCrossing Connect blog and had a similar experience to me in that he became ‘nexted’ all to frequently, and that’s despite efforts to improve lighting and hairdo (me, not him!).

Being ‘nexted’ seems to be the thing that people are talking about most. There’s a pretty heavy bias towards dwell time on women rather than men. But as would be expected there is also an issue around protection of children’s viewing habits, as invariably there are more than a few individuals on there who seem to think that exposing themselves is the thing to do!

There are positives – Kate Moss says that she’s addicted to Chat Roulette right now, so even though the odds must be well against you, there is a small chance she might pop up on your screen and say at least something to you!

Here’s a great video explanation on Vimeo from Casey Neistat. It’s followed by a video that is currently doing the rounds – supposedly by singer Ben Folds – who has brilliantly decided to take Chat Roulette on stage. It’s a very clever idea that is only marred by the disbelieving responses of the individuals who flash up before being nexted!

chat roulette from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

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