From 2010 to 2012, Chatroulette was a thing. It was a popular past time to gather around a laptop with a group of friends and get randomly paired with strangers on the internet for a video chat. You heard stories from friends of friends about someone who matched with some hot guy from Europe, had the most amazing conversation and continued to stay in touch with each other until eventually, s/he bought a plane ticket to visit her/him. (Talk about a meet-cute!) Videos of celebrity sightings on the site also surfaced and went viral, and you got to see amazing stuff like this every now and again:

Chatroulette is a live video-chat website that pairs random strangers from around the world. Users can enable their web-cam and/or microphone in addition to the text box to communicate with one another. It was developed by a 17-year-old high school student named Andrey Ternovskiy, who wrote its first version in “two days and two nights”. How it works is it utilizes Adobe Flash’s peer-to-peer network capabilities—RTMFP (Real-Time Media Flow Protocol) to allow multimedia to efficiently traverse between users’ computers without using server bandwidth.

Although the site is still active today, Chatroulette received criticism and backlash within the first year of its launch and gradually lost its popularity when it became the obvious choice for people to exhibit offensive, obscene, and pornographic material and acts. According to this Verge article, there persists a small community of male users on Chatroulette. I know part of the assignment is to try it out, but I’m going to take a hard pass…


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