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The Chatroulette Experiment

By / 03.03.10
Much has been written recently about Chatroullette, the latest “It” thing on the Internet, which is pretty impressive when you consider the competition it faces. Somewhat even more amazing is that it was created by a 17 year old kid from Russia, if you believe the New York Times, which we hear is usually fairly reliable.
Since he created it for fun a few months ago, the site has gone from a few dozen hits a day to tens of thousands of hits. Each time I tried to log on the site showed more than 20,000 people on at any given time.
The program is a weird mix of speed dating, chat room, Skype and random porn all in one. You log on by going to chatroullette.com. Once you get in you click the “Play” button and you get connected to a random person somewhere in the world. Anytime you want, you click on the “Next” button to connect to a new person.
People have found the process to be a bit like crack, spending hours and hours going from person to person. Some crybabies found the experience to be a bit traumatizing as they felt that stabbing pain of rejection when the complete stranger on the other end clicked the “Next” button.
What I wanted to find out was what exactly would make a random person stay long enough to chat with me for a few minutes. I developed a test to see what would get ¬†and keep people’s attention long enough for me to ask them a few questions. I set up five different scenarios and ran them through 10 random people each.

1) THE BASELINE
For the first part of the experiment I needed a baseline to compare my other results to so I just used myself.

Imagine this guy but with the kind of street cred and bad-assery you can only get from being a father of a two year old.


Things started off badly with the first two guys clicking the next button before I could even say hi. My plan was to use a stopwatch to see how long people would stay with me but these guys left so fast I didn’t even have time to use the watch. This is the Internet, rejection at light speed. I gave up trying to time people. I considered anyone who would stay and talk for a bit to be a success.

The third person was a guy in his late 20’s with a beard who actually stayed to have a conversation. I had some questions I wanted to ask everyone; where are you from, how did you hear about Chatroulette and what has been you best and worst experience on here.
Turns out beard dude was from Oregon and had heard about it from from a blog. He told me he liked it but was really tired of seeing dick. I had read that the site is full of guys masturbating or exposing themselves and beard dude had run into his fair share that night. On a positive note he swore he had a conversation with Jessica Alba or someone who looked just like her. One second, dick, the next second, Jessica Alba, maybe. Welcome to Chatroulette.
I would only run into one other person who would chat but then the program froze after only a couple of minutes.
Final results for the baseline: seven dudes, one group of four girls, and two blank screens. Two people actually stayed to chat.
2) THE BEGGING
The second scenario involved a bit of cyberbegging on my part. Using my mad skills as a sign maker I held up this sign:
The sign seemed to be having a little bit of an effect. On average people were staying for a few seconds longer to read the sign before signing off but the first five people hit Next without saying anything.
Stranger #6 was just a black screen which wasn’t promising but stuck around to talk. On seeing my stationary bike we had this exchange:
Stranger: ooo
Stranger: exercise bike
You: i know awesome right
Stranger: does it go fast
You: real fast but not far
Stranger: like a Chewbacca on fire

Black screen stranger was from Canada and I determined he was a dude because he was happy to relate he saw two girls dancing on a bed. Before signing off he too warned me about the wieners that seem to plague the site.
Two more guys stayed to chat for a bit but both times the program froze after a minute. It looked like another successful test until #10 popped on my screen beating his stick like it stole something from him. I clicked next but not soon enough. I was a victim of a drive by wank off.
Results: six dudes, one unkown, two blank screens, one wiener. Three people stayed to chat, so overall better than the baseline.
3) THE BOOBIES
Given that the majority of the people on the site were guys I figured this was a sure fire winner. Especially with a pair like these to get their attention:

Talk to the boobies.


So with my camera pointed at the picture above I went back into the fray. Surprisingly even with a great rack I wasn’t having much more success. It took person #5 before I found someone willing to chat. He was a young guy from New York and during our chat someone was bringing him dinner. New York dude told me he couldn’t get enough of the site and his best experience was a long conversation with a girl who revealed she was gay and had only told one other person.
No one else stayed to talk. Number nine were two guys, one wearing a mask similar to the one in “Scream” and the other just kind of stood behind him. It reminded me of the scene in “Pulp Fiction” with the Gimp. Finally #10 was just holding up a sign saying “Flash Boobs Please.”
Results: 8 dudes, two chicks, no wieners (yeah!). Only one person stayed to chat.
4) THE BOSS
The next test involved having my wife on camera. Because this thing seemed to be one huge sausage fest I felt she had the best chance of getting people to interact. Obviously I was concerned she would see strange weiners but that is the risk you take with Chatroulette.

A female, the Holy Grail of Chatroulette.


That picture is not my wife, but that is what she looks like. More or less. Immediately, she had better luck. It seemed all the dudes were staying on; the odd thing was that most of them seemed confused that she had yet to hit Next. The very fact that a live female was willing to stay online with them seemed to have stunned them into silence.
Dude #3 just kept waving his arms around and giving my wife the thumbs up sign and blowing her kisses. My wife was a bit shocked at how little game these guys have. I was shocked that she was shocked by this.
Connection #5 gets the weirdo award when he asked her if she wanted to play. I wanted her to find out what he meant, but she clicked Next telling me there was only so much ickiness whe would put up for this article.
Results: Nine dudes, one girl, no wieners — although one was a crotch shot he had his pants on. They all stayed on much longer and five tried to chat but the program kept freezing so we couldn’t get a good conversation going.
The final results probably don’t come as too much of a surprise. No matter where you go online a live female is bound to get the attention of hordes of guys. While it was interesting to try out the program I’m not really sure what the future holds for it. With the number of people using the site now it is often hard to get on. Even when you do, much of your time is either spent hitting the Next button or having the other person do the same to you and when you do try to chat more often than not the program freezes. Seems to me you could have the same results sitting on a bench in the mall and just looking at random strangers for a couple of seconds.

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