Chatroulette is a novel site that hooks up random strangers with web-cams. It is a lot like the site Omegle, but instead of solely text-based chatting, you get audio/video, which is probably why it has exploded in popularity.
The first time I was on, there was less than a thousand people. Now, there looks to be multiple servers, with over 20,000 people on each. It is quickly reaching the mainstream, with sites like 4chan, Collegehumor, and popular youtubers spreading the word.
One of my favorite outcomes of this new phenomenon is Chatroulette improv, where musicians (and others) do improv based on their interactions, like the following one by Merton:
After spending several hours on this site, I’m as enthralled as ever… and I can’t help feeling like this is another step towards the next level of human consciousness… the global consciousness.
Global consciousness – the techlepathic link of all the willing people of the planet – is what lies in our future. It will arise as our abilities to read and write thoughts (thanks to advanced neuroscience) combine with ever expanding networking technologies. With each step we take towards this new state of existence, we will be stepping towards a more peaceful world… as we come to see the rest of humanity as part of our own extended family.
Seriously, check it out. It is fun, entertaining, and enlightening. And as you do, you will, in a way, be like a newborn opening your eyes to the world for the first time.
Note – about 20% of the time it is some guy masturbating, so be prepared for this, and always keep your mouse ready to click on to the next one.