Everyone from the mainstream media to celebrities is obsessing over Chatroulette, the website that randomly connects users through one-on-one videochat with strangers around the world. Why is it so addictive?
As Wired’s resident Chatroulette expert (I’ve been using the service since it was created in late 2009), I think I know why:
Inner internet exhibitionist unleashed, no strings attached
Let’s say you’re a bouncer at a high-class club in Vegas who wants to share his drunken exploits with the world — or, maybe you and your friends want to create a choreographed homage to Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface.”* Before Chatroulette, there were consequences for uploading your antics to the web (nasty YouTube comments, the possibility that people will make fun of your “Singing in the Shower” video for decades to come). Chatroulette provides the opportunity to act like a crazy person online while still, for the most part, remaining anonymous. Just click Next when you’re done entertaining (or, alternatively, gaping at) your current Chatroulette buddy, and voila: a new person for you to amuse.