In 2009 Chatroulette was the social darling of the internet. Although it wasn’t the first roulette chat site to exist, it did become the most popular.
At the height of Chatroulette’s popularity, media pundits were often found touting the evils of the website. Chatroulette according to these talking heads would steal our wives and corrupt our children. Show’s like Jon Stewart’s featured this new style of video chatting, and it poked fun at the least savory aspects of the site.
Unfortunately the knee jerk reactions and the sensational stories were intended to increase media viewership and had little to do with the facts. The media refused to delve any deeper into the issue and answer the question of why Chatroulette was so popular.
Well the hype finally died down. The psychological wave of destruction never came. And people continue to enjoy tuning into Chatroulette.
The Underlining Appeal of Roulette Chat
To many people talking with random strangers is a thrill. With the click of the next button we’re catapulted into a strange, unique and weird world.
Chatroulette is an appropriate name for the site. Random chatting is a lot like the casino game of roulette. Your chances of finding someone you really want to talk with are probably not in your favor. The randomness proves to be alluring and keeps us playing again and again. And just like the casino game, Chatroulette can be extremely addictive.
Stardom and Infamy on Chatroulette
Although there are some unsavory characters on the website, its overall value outweighs the minor problems that occasionally pop up. Nevertheless, some people have achieved stardom and infamy on Chatroulette solely because they were live on their webcam at the wrong time. Some of the most notorious pranks are:
The first two videos are really good pranks, but the last one really should be removed. This poor girl thinks that she’s chatting with Justin Bieber on Chatroulette. She’s almost in tears, saying it’s the happiest day of her life. I really can’t understand why someone would go to all this trouble to humiliate someone and then make it worse by publicizing the video.
When Chatroulette and Omegle first became popular, numerous other sites opened to cash in on the craze. Unfortunately for them, they never received a following. Sites like Chathopper, ShufflePeople, and numerous others closed their doors after only a couple of years.
Some sites like Omegle continue to operate, but it’s just a matter of time before they also close. Sadly, they’ve inflated their traffic numbers to make it appear as though the site is in demand and interesting. It isn’t. So basically Chatroulette doesn’t have any competition in the roulette chat market. They’re still the reigning king of random chat.
When the owner Andre Ternovskiy first started Chatroulette as a 17 year old high school student, he probably had no idea how his site would become a brief shining star. The site has created a online culture about roulette chatting. Sites now sell tee shirt sites about Chatroulette, blogs discuss news and related random chatting culture (including this blog), and other sites document infamous videos taken from the site.
So What’s Next?
Part of my brain, the part with a proclivity for geeky cinema and TV classics like Star Wars and Star Trek, can’t help but imagine what the next big item will be in video chatting. Holographic communication is on the verge of becoming a reality. And if you thought you were addicted to Chatroulette on a plain old monitor, imagine having a holographic image in front of you.