Omegle was started by an 18-year-old high school student who lives in Brattleboro, Vermont and the entire premise is online chatting … with a complete stranger. When you start a chat, you are “you” and the person you’re chatting with is “stranger”. Unless you dig for more details, you don’t get any. No witty username, no icon, personalized font and color, nothing. For a better understanding of this post – I suggest you click here to try it out or read this post for more information.
While I get that an 18 year old in Vermont would find the idea of a stranger to talk to exciting, after spending some time on line doing “research”, I think I’m too old for Omegle. Or, just not enough of a wing nut.
My favorite conversation went like this:
You: please don’t say something weird
Your conversational partner has disconnected.
I have so many meaningless conversations in a day, I’m usually aching for a meaningful one. Between the countless encounters one has in a small town and the rushed nature of our day to day lives, I seldom find myself sitting with someone I care about talking about what really matters in either our lives or our world. Going online to talk to someone I don’t know is yet another, and the chances of that conversation turning into something meaningful are even less. Even if it were to become so, the randomness, the anonymity of it would nullify any authenticity.
So fine, this is supposed to be fake, fun, whatever it evolves into. Let’s spend some time delving into the pointless.
When I first heard about Omegle and sent the link to my friends, we were in hysterics about some of the conversations. Strangers would open with completely bizarre comments, sometimes a little scary, sometimes uncomfortable, you never knew what you were going to get. While that is still the case, in the month or two that Omegle has been up, I find it has been taken over by salacious chatters who immediately get straight to the point: a/s/l (yes, I had to ask what that meant: age/sex/language) and one conversation went immediately to this:
Stranger: do u like sex?
Stranger: have u got a webcam?
Stranger: can i see u?
You have disconnected.
It’s like a one night stand, only without foreplay, alcohol or the bad come on line and instead, pleading?
Now let’s add my teenage nieces have access to Omegle, as does … anyone. Seem a little scary yet?
I get the ideal of why a conversation with a complete stranger would be refreshing and unique. It’s like freshman year at college: you had the choice to be you, or the choice to start over and not be the nerd or bitch, or nerdy bitch in my case, that you were in high school. Only, this is repeated conversations with strangers, repeated potential persona’s and the result reminds me of an experiment from a Psych 101 class. When asked to write on a blank piece of paper what we would do if we were invisible for an entire day, almost all the answers were a variation on two things: 1. spy on women changing and 2. rob a bank. Imagine hearing those answers read aloud 350 times. It was funny, then staggering, then just plain old depressing.
Unfortunately, the reality of Omegle is an anonymous expanse in which it becomes depressingly clear how little people are actually interested in what we have to say to each other and how important a/s/l is once our pesky pretense at sincerity is no longer required or needed.
Like I said, I’m too old for this.