Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Omegle: Hey There, Stranger!

I must send out a thank you to two tech divas: Veronica Belmont and Sarah Lane. These two ladies have introduced me to the weird, anonymous world of Omegle through their Twitter posts.
What is Omegle? It’s a chat room that pairs you randomly with someone else. Both chatters are anonymous, identified only by the handle “Stranger.” You can chat about anything you like. You can share data or talk about the weather. You can make a new friend or frustrate a stranger until he or she chooses to disconnect from the conversation. It’s pretty much a free-for-all.
Either party can disconnect from the conversation at any point. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere or the other chatter goes idle, you can skip out and try again. You may end up chatting with a curious Web celebrity. It might even be yours truly, so be nice.
Upon logging in for the first time, I braced myself for trolling. Anonymity on the Web often leads to abusive language and sophomoric behavior. My first conversation wasn’t terribly successful. I typed “Hello strange person.” My conversation partner promptly disconnected the conversation. Clearly I need to work on my online social skills.
My second and third conversations were a little more successful. I even got far enough to find out the third conversational partner was from Guadalajara. That’s as much personal information as we shared.
Civility went out the window with conversation number four, but a 75-percent success rate is nothing to sneeze at. It’s an interesting social experiment. I don’t see it having any real lasting effect, but it was fun to make contact with random people.
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