Chatroulette and online dating: a match made in cyberspace heaven?

Last weekend, a high school friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while, told me she had a new man in her life. His name is Anders. He is 25. And he lives in Esbjerg, Denmark. Since I knew she hadn’t been abroad for months, I was surprised to find out how she met this Danish guy. Turns out the answer to that question was rather obvious: she met him online. Not on the typical online dating or social networking sites, but on Omegle. This website randomly pairs up users online into one-to-one chat windows. There they can chat anonymously using the handles ‘you’ and ‘stranger’. I remember visiting that particular website last year when it got hyped on several blogs.  But unlike my friend who seemingly met her Danish knight in shining armour on there, the only people I got connected to were crazy Koreans who refused to type in anything different than their own language. So far my Omegle adventures.

The last weeks however, I noticed some buzz surrounding a similar website: Chatroulette. This site also connects random strangers for conversations, but unlike those on Omegle, these are webcam-based. Visitors to the website can randomly begin an online chat (via video and audio or text) with another visitor. As the picture and video below illustrate, this person can be anybody…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Users who do not like what they see when they get connected to a random stranger can click the ‘next’ button, an option that is much appreciated since the site seems to be a paradise for exhibitionists who like to ‘share’ a lot more than their chat partners ask for. The story of my friend in mind, and the fact that Chatroulette gets most of its revenue through advertising for online dating services, I believe this site could be the ideal platform for people who are looking for love online, making it an online version of speeddating. Unlike real-life speeddating where it’s not socially acceptable to run away when you don’t like your date, Chatroulette offers you the possibility to make that person disappear by just one ‘click’, an option I’m sure a lot of people would sign up for in the offline dating world.

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