Here’s the first paragraph of my new column ‘How Chatroulette Taught Me Everything I Need to Know About the Internet’ for Flow TV:
Genetic scientists love the humble Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster) because it has such a short life-cycle; several generations can live, reproduce, pass on genetic material, and die within a month. In this column, I’d like to suggest that Chatroulette is the current fruit fly of the internet, by which I mean, Chatroulette, its users, and the responses to it, evoke many of the big issues facing internet users today, and do so in a far faster and more immediate way than on the internet at large. On the off chance you’re unfamiliar, Chatroulette does exactly what the name implies: the website randomly connects two users with webcams and chat functionality; there are no log-ins, no registration pages and very few rules, none of which appear to be enforced.1 Notably, Chatroulette was created by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17 year old Russian student who, legally, would be considered a child himself in many countries. With that context in mind, I want to address Chatroulette in terms of search, ‘Sex!’, privacy, copyright and creativity.
If I’ve sparked your interest, please head over to Flow TV to read the rest.