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March 24, 2012

Hi, stranger

Yet another goofy Internet creation: Omegle.com, a site that lets you anonymously chat with strangers. Why would you want to do that? Well, I gave it a try and found it oddly fascinating.

Screen shot from Omegle.comIt works like this: you go to the site, answer a question about your interests (or not) and immediately are in a text conversation with someone, somewhere.

They are labeled "Stranger" in the chat box. You or they type an opening line, and you're in a conversation of sorts. My opening line at right didn't go very well.

Either of you can click the "Disconnect" button at any time to end the chat and start another. It's oddly disconcerting when the Stranger does this, but satisfying when you do it (whew! got out of that conversation!).

The experience feels like you're at a crowded party where you don't know anyone, and don't really care much about it. You strike up a conversation and if it's not interesting you head for the bar to try again.

The longest "conversation" I had was 6 or 8 lines. The Stranger was someone who liked to write short stories. I challenged him/her to write one in 60 seconds. It sounded like he/she was going to do it, but then the buzz kill "Your conversational partner has disconnected."

As obviously shallow and superficial as it is, I was surprised at how disappointed I was to lose this brief connection.

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