Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Web Secret #92: Chat Roulette

I wasn't sure I was going to write about Chat Roulette, even though it has over 500,000 unique visitors a day and anywhere from 20,000 to 150,000 concurrent users.

And even though it's so big that it's been written up in Fast Company, the New York Times, Mashable, and Tech Crunch - and that's just to name a few.

For the uninformed, Chat Roulette is a web site that pairs you with a random videochat partner. You can click "next" any time, or stay with your current pairing. And with that, anything is possible. You could be talking to a cool bunch of people in Ireland about what it's like to live there or you could be exposed to a broad range of perverted activity. One adventurous colleague explained " you click next, and then for a while, you're not sure what you're looking at. And then you realize what your looking at... Gross! And you click next again."

For a more extensive explanation, watch the video:

chat roulette from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

So can Chat Roulette be harnessed for the power of good? For work and business purposes? Therapeutic purposes?

I don't know. Yet. But almost every social media network was initially started to be a form of entertainment or a vehicle for socialization. And then somebody figured it out. The founders of Twitter never thought it could be used to raise money for a cause, or alert students that a gunman is on the loose on a college campus, or showcase a new medicine, or a new treatment modality.

So Chat Roulette...Just you wait.

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