An excerpt from a timely reality check that’s in many ways both scary and sad. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go add chatroulette.com to the list of sites blocked by my home router…
The following summer, Ternovskiy holed up at home and began to toy with the code for a new site that would re-create the atmosphere of the store. It took him three days to construct a basic version. A few months later, it was one of the most talked-about social-networking sites in the world.
The idea is simple. When you log on to Chatroulette.com, you see a sparse white window with two boxes. One box shows your own image, courtesy of your Webcam; the other is for the face of what the site calls, somewhat ambiguously, a “partner.” When Partner appears, you can stay and talk using your voice or your keyboard, or you can click “Next,” which whips you on to someone new. The point is to introduce you to people you’d never otherwise meet and will never see again—the dancing Korean girls, the leopard-printed Catman, the naked man in Gdansk.
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