Chat roulette – too much weirdness for me

I’ve just spent about 20 minutes on the latest gimmick website Chat Roulette; I won’t be going back for a second look.

One round of weirdness is enough for me.

In case you’ve missed it – and that would be hard, given the press coverage in the past two weeks – Chat Roulette is an even more instant and ephemeral application than Twitter.

The basic premise is that you go to the site and turn on your webcam. You are then randomly connected with the other users – when I checked it out late on a Kiwi Wednesday afternoon there were 20000 similarly bored souls linked in.

I few of the “partners” I was connected with didn’t have their cameras on and all I can say after my brief excursion is that was probably a good thing.

I managed to capture some screen shots of the worst offenders, but why they would go to the trouble, I don’t know. I suppose the chances of finding someone to play hand music with are higher on Chat Roulette than just about anywhere else online – at least for free. But these unattractive specimens would cause most sensible people (me included) to quickly hit the “next” button.

Adults only content after the jump. Please don’t go there if you’re offended by fat hairy bellies and scruffy men’s undies.

Some sensible people write about Chat Roulette

Zoe Williams in The Guardian

Sam Jones in The Guardian

Rebecca Barry in the NZ Herald

Perhaps the best comment on Chat Roulette was the ever-outrageous and on-the-money Jon Stewart who made these comments on The Daily Show:

“See, Chatroulette is a lot like Russian Roulette. Just, instead of one bullet and five empty chambers, it’s five cock filled chambers and one chamber for reporters thinking they’ll be breaking the next internet trend, only to find themselves surrounded by cock,” said Stewart.

You can see the full segment here too. Just get past the first intro piece from Keith Olbermann

I love the line that suggests Chat Roulette is the missing link between Twitter and the old-fashioned glory hole.

Now that I’ve had time to recover and check my instincts, I’ve decided not to upload the ugly screen shots. Most of you can imagine the scene.

Instead, I thought this one would be a good stand-in; at least there’s some humour. And yes, this was a “partner” I briefly connected to, it’s not a download from any of the “Best of” sites that have already sprung up.

5.15pm Update:

I finally got to chat with someone, but their camera was off, so I’ve no idea who or what to make of this.

> Connected, feel free to talk now

Stranger: hey

You: hiding in the dark

You: i’ve been jumping around here for about half an hour, no one wants to chat, too much weirdness

You: so say something,

Stranger: wait for me

You: what are you going to do?

Stranger: I am english no well

Stranger: where are you from

You: OK, so what are you doing here, no camera?

You: I am in New Zealand, you?

Stranger: I am china

You: You can get past the Great Firewall, that is interesting

Stranger: i think camera is borken

Stranger: sorry

You: what city are you in?

Stranger: ZHAN JIANG

Stranger: you know?

You: not really, I have friends in shanghai

Stranger: Guang Dong

Stranger: oh I glad to meet you

You: do you have a job?

Stranger: I know your very happily

Stranger: no..I am studying

You: what do you study? I know some chinese students here

Stranger: Computer

You: so fix the camera

Stranger: HoHo..How old are you.

You: many years older than you I think

Stranger: I seeyou very young

Stranger: so man..

You: not young,

Stranger: HoHo..

Stranger: You like china?

You: I like chinese people, not the chinese government

Stranger: So i thike you like me

You: why?

Stranger: not why…Feeling

You: strange, I can’t even see you

Stranger: Has any means to be possible to contact with you

I cut it off there, perhaps it was a ‘bot’ already, designed to make me hand over bank account details.


After washing my hands, this item from Cnet made me smile. Perhaps the FBI could consider posting some agents on Chat Roulette, there are certainly plenty of ‘offenders’ lurking there.

The Obama administration has considered sending federal police undercover on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

One Response to Chat roulette – too much weirdness for me

  1. Liam Gash says:

    Sorry this is so long after your original post but I’ve only just seen it. I’ve just read a very interesting article in the New Yorker about the Russian founder of Chat Roulette, Andrey Ternovskiy. Worth reading for an insight into the chaos of modern Russia. The ‘glory hole’ analogy was very apt.

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