Today: 26.05.2018
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25.05.2018

I went back on Chatroulette to see who’s still there.

Much like the guy I picked up at a bar in my first year of college, or that leather jacket I left in the back of a cab after ten Bacardi Breezers, I hadn’t thought much about Chatroulette since I last hit the “x” key on my browser, disconnected my dial-up and filed it to...
Time: 13:55     Date: 17.05.2018
US Living News: I went back on Chatroulette to see who’s still there. NY Post 24 - US News

If your shoulders are touching your ears right now, then you’re having the very same reaction I did when I recalled the last time I gave it whirl, eight long years ago.

For the uninitiated, Chatroulette is a website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with an endless stream of random strangers from all over the world. When it first hit our screens in 2010, it was the gold standard in social media. MySpace was dead (RIP), making room for the anonymous, user-friendly platform that would be hailed as a welcoming place to meet strangers and beat boredom.

But then, the penises came. Lots and lots of penises. This resulted in the site’s numbers rapidly declining. From the millions of registered users it boasted in its heyday, it quickly dwindled to what I can now attest to is around 500, tops.

So, in the name of journalism, I was primed to open up my webcam to the world and spoiler alert! There are still a lot of penises.

Worldwide whoa The functionality of Chatroulette is simple: once you’re matched with someone, you can either stay and chat or hit the space bar and move on to the next.

All you need to log on is a working webcam (tick) and a face (also tick) which is required to start a spin, but once you’re in the game, you don’t have to show it again. And many people it turns out, do not show their face again. As soon as you hit start, you’re suddenly met with another human staring back at you. And the human I am met with is by all accounts the stereotype of who you’d assume to see hanging out in chatrooms.

Unfortunately, he didn’t speak English, so it was a short-lived interaction. I hit the space bar and was met with a penis. Then another. And another. The question of why someone would want to jerk off in front of a stranger online completely baffles me, but I was determined to see through the forest for the trees.

My second “face-to-face” interaction was with a handsome enough guy from Greece. After asking me where I was from, he asked for a small favor – to see my toes. He tells me he finds them sexy and frequents the platform so he can get his foot fix. Next.

After that, I am accosted by more penises, a Russian weightlifter who danced for me, a rapper claiming to be Eminem and whaddayaknow, more members than you can poke a stick at.

Much like my last foray into Tinder, I had soon grown bored of the swipe. I gave it one last shot when I matched with Mark, a Hungarian crime scene investigator, who was just hanging in his office, taking a well-earned break from cracking the big cases.

He was by all accounts a pretty interesting guy. We chatted for a while (three minutes is a lifetime by Chatroulette standards) and he willingly answered all of my questions, explaining how he was logging on for the social interaction after doing so a “few times” before. When I asked if he was looking for a girlfriend, he was woke to the fact that the chances of meeting a Hungarian babe on the site were low, instead, suggesting he come to Sydney. I politely decline and close my Chrome window.

Given the anonymity of the platform, I can now see where it went awry. Although it was a blast from the Internet past, without the safety of a keyboard to hide behind, it felt strangely intimate — almost intimidatingly so.

Would I jump on the Chatroulette wheel again? All signs point to no. But then again, I said that about Tinder too.

Living

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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