Two hours on Chatroulette

I finally checked out Chatroulette and The Daily Show's Jon Stewart nailed it with this description: it's five percent curiosity and 95 percent free-floating dong.

Founded last year by a 17-year-old Russian computer geek, Chatroulette is a cross between a chat application and a game of chance. You are randomly connected via webcam, voice and text to others who are on the site. You hit a big, unmarked button and that disconnects you from one conversation and randomly starts another. It's free to use, there's no sign-in, there's no policing, there's no age restriction (although the creator suggested you be 16 to use it), but there is a whole, heaping amount of penis. I'll get to that in a minute.

As with any web chat, some folks have recorded themselves and others (y'all did know that was possible...right?) doing silly things, like lip-syncing to Lady Gaga songs and Lionsgate used Chatroulette to virally market the horror film, The Last Exorcism, showing a young woman seductively unbuttoning her shirt – another common image on the site – and then turning into a demon. With 1.5 million users in less than a year, Chatroulette is a neophyte in social media, but it's already crossed over into pop culture, with South Park even featuring it in an episode. New York book publicists and literatti-types Russ Marshalek and Brett Sandusky tried to market a novel on the site. You can watch the video of their attempt at this link

I had never tried Chatroulette until this past weekend. It took a few minutes to get my webcam set up, but then I was connected and what was the first image I saw: a close-up of a guy masturbating. I clicked the button and was connected to a teenager who called me an old man, flipped me off and moved on. Next were two giggling college girls who offered to show me theirs if I showed them mine (I declined), followed by a man who appeared to be in his 60s reading a newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee, and then it was a guy wearing nothing but a ski mask and a hard on. There were also a group of drunk frat boy-types huddled around a computer hoping to see some female skin. They told me to go fuck myself.  

I have to admit, I found Chatroulette intriguing, because the curiosity factor is so high. You never know who – or what – is coming next. I tried to keep count of the number of connections I made in the two hours I was on Chatroulette (yeah, I know, but it was research), but people on the site often took one look and moved on quickly, and so did I. The reputation Chatroulette has for being a "sausage factory"  is totally true. I would say that more than half the people I connected with were men exposing themselves or masturbating. 

In that two hours, I also actually had sustained conversations with two people: one was a girl who eyed me curiously and then noticed the Orlando movie poster on the wall behind me. She was at college (high school in the UK) and we had a 20 minute conversation about movies and British television. She was very nice and didn't offer to show me her boobs once. The other was a guy from South Carolina (who was clothed and actually cute) and we talked about the World Cup.

Will I ever visit Chatroulette again? Probably not. It's a curiosity and I can see how teens and college kids (and exhibitionists) find it amusing. Although you're showing your face (well...), there's still a feeling of anonymity that allows people to say and do things without fear of reprisal. That is unless their chat session is captured and put on YouTube.

If you're not easily offended check it out, but please keep your free floating dong and boobies to yourself. Unless you're Taylor Lautner or Gillian Anderson or....


Anonymous said…
Not to get too graphic in your comments, but I thought Chatroulette might be a fun place to meet guys for a little masturbation. It wound up kind of creeping me out instead.

jessica said…
Never logged on, don't plan to, but have read about it, and your, uh, excursion and narrative is funny as all get out. This IS a form of travel writing!
Jennifer Perry said…
Never logged on, actually never heard of it until now, but since you did the 'leg work' thankfully I don't have to.
Excited about your interview tomorrow with Patti LuPone and looking forward to reading it and her book.
I have an interview with author Diane Fanning on Madame Perry's Salon, and she has kindly revisited the blog to comment or answer questions from commenters.
Bookfraud said…
the one and only time i went on chatroulette i think i set a record: 15 cocks in one minute. and i had a bunch of college boys tell me to fuck off too because i didn't have boobies.

what a modern world we live in.
Pris said…
Thanks for researching it for us, Collin:-) Think I'll pass on this, too.

Popular Posts