Chatroulette: My First Spin

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So, I wouldn’t be a very good social media correspondent if I didn’t try out the newest fad, Chatroulette. If you’re unfamiliar, you just chat with strangers on webcam and hit “Next” at anytime to connect with someone new. It’s definitely interesting.

I decided to wear my “LGBTerrific!” shirt to see what kind of response I’d get. The rainbow was immediately identifiable, but the responses were not all negative. Some folks were like, “Oh I totally love your shirt!” whereas many others said, “FAGGOT!” What surprised me is that more often than being called a “faggot” I was called “fat,” “fatty,” “fat ass,” “slim fast fail,” and some teenage girls also called me a “40-year-old virgin.” First of all, while I”m no gym rat, I’m not fat (I’ve actually been losing a lot of weight lately), but more importantly, how do you determine a person is fat when all you see is their shoulders up?

I’m not surprised that people are that superficial, but I am surprised that people are that intentionally mean. I don’t have any insecurities about my sexuality or my weight, so I could easily brush it all off, but it was clear that these folks were just scouring the net looking for folks to insult. I’m sure there are plenty of people hurt by these kinds of comments, and I think they take away from the experience a whole lot more than all the penises.

There are, by the way, lots of penises. I’m not really phased that much by seeing a penis, but it’s definitely not what I was on there looking for. I really am curious as to the intentions behind showing all these penises. For the probably 40 penises I saw, I saw only one pair of boobs. What’s most disconcerting about the penises is that their owners definitely seem to be targeting women as an audience. I never had to see one for very long because as soon as they saw I was a guy, they’d Next right away. There was one guy in his underwear who didn’t immediately Next me and we even chatted a bit; he was gay, my age, and even showed his face, which was somewhat refreshing. It would be interesting if there were a way to study these men who are putting their penises out on Chatroulette to better understand what they are hoping to accomplish.

My biggest frustration with Chatroulette was actually all the time I spent waiting between connections. I hope that they can improve the system to eliminate these waiting periods, because they got quite annoying  after a while. You’d make three connections you didn’t like and wait another couple minutes for the next. It takes some of the fun away.

Despite all the negative stuff I just described, I definitely had a couple of nice chats with folks. I met some other Chatroulette virgins and we were all having a good time. Some Canadian high school students came on and one of the girls was a curler, which was cool. I met two women from New Hampshire who were nice and chatty, one of whom was a teacher aspiring to be a lady of leisure who just travels the world; I wished her luck accomplishing that on a teacher’s salary. There were also just a lot of goofy college kids and teenagers; some were annoying, some could maintain a conversation and were pretty chill. I asked one group of girls if they were “LGBTerrific!” or at least “a good ally” and none of them knew what LGBT meant and none of them were named “Ally.” There were definitely plenty of folks who made me smile and laugh.

So, that being said, I will definitely try Chatroulette again in the future. And the best part is, if I have some fun interactions, I can share them here on the blog! Below are two highlights from last night (click to embiggen!), and also the clip of The Daily Show’s coverage of Chatroulette.

This guy made me smile:

Elmo Cat STRETCH! (Seriously, whoever was holding this cat had a perfect Elmo voice impression that was hilarious!)

And here, Jon Stewart takes a spin:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tech-Talch – Chatroulette
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There are 1 Comments to "Chatroulette: My First Spin"

  • Buffy says:

    I’m not at all surprised by the reactions you got.  People are complete jerks to LGBT people, particularly when they can do it anonymously.
    Want to try another experiment?   Don a Christian T-shirt or obvious cross/crucifix.    See what reactions you get from people then.   It would be interesting to note the difference.

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