Why Chatroulette Is More Than Just Penises
Five months ago, right around the time that Andrey Ternovskiy was building Chatroulette, no one could have predicted that being “nexted” would become the modern day equivalent to a rite of passage.
But after three days of coding, Ternovskiy introduced his pet project for random video chat to friends, then users of Web forums, and from there things just spiraled.
When the New York Times talked to the 17 year-old Ternovskiy earlier in the month, he confessed that, “Last month I saw 30 million unique visitors come to the Web site and one million new people visit each day. It continues to multiply and I just couldn’t stop it from growing.”
Chatroulette’s astronomical growth, while impressive, tends to be tainted by the prevalence of penises, and other naughty bits, that seem to go unchecked (there is a “Report” button) due to anonymity. But, as is the case when something hits a nerve with the population, Chatroulette has spawned a slew of copycats and one-off apps. Clearly there’s more to this cultural phenomenon than what initially accosts the eye.