The Art Institute of Portland

The Art Institute of Portland offers programs in Advertising, Design Management, Design Studies, Design Visualization, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Apparel Accessory Design, Apparel Design, Fashion Marketing, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Visual & Game Programming, Web Design & Interactive Media, Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Culinary Management.
Learn more about The Art Institute of Portland

Chat Roulette and Anonymous Online Video Chatting

There’s a new fad storming the online world, and depending on who you ask it’s amusing, frightening – or both. It’s online video chatting via web cams, an unusual mix of entertainment, voyeurism, and sometimes painfully immediate feedback. And while many use video chatting as a harmless diversion from the real world, users should be aware that it’s difficult to remain truly private or anonymous when using any Internet chat site.

“There are inherent dangers in any online communication tool as long as you’re communicating with people you don’t know,” says Lauri Stevens, Department Chair of Web Design & Interactive Media at The New England Institute of Art.

The number of websites that allow users to connect to chatters across the world is growing, due to the exponential growth and popularity of Chat Roulette. Launched in late 2009 by 17-year-old Moscow high school student Andrey Ternovskiy, Chat Roulette has propelled him from anonymity to fame – including a recent interview in The New York Times. Ternovskiy states in the article that he believes his site is a simple concept that’s useful for people.

“(Some people) do really unbelievable things I could never think of. They make up songs about strangers and sing to them, draw them, listen to music, broadcast them their own music,” he adds.

Other popular sites include Omegle, which lets you pick another user at random and have an anonymous chat. AnybodyOutThere goes even further, asking a user to pose a question or comment, then using algorithms to match people of similar interests. The website describes itself as “here to make your experience on the web more meaningful and fun while you're at it.”

If you’re squeamish about random people seeing you, most sites provide the option to simply text talk – no video. On Omegle, the webcam option is so new that the site is asking users for feedback on their experience.

Video chatting websites have allowed teens from across the globe to have virtual parties together and opened up a new world where people confess secrets to strangers two continents away. But it’s sometimes allowed people to show off in less savory ways – both visually and through harsh, denigrating comments to other users that have made many swear to never visit the sites again.

Stories of one-and-done experiences with video chatting abound on the web, with people voluntarily subjecting themselves to everything from demoralizing feedback via text talk to vulgar images that shouldn’t be discussed in polite company.

In a recent New York Magazine article, writer Sam Anderson described his foray into video chatting. Intrigued by the premise, he logged on with “an open mind and an eager soul” but soon found his spirits dampened.
“I left absolutely crushed. . . The first eighteen people who saw me disconnected immediately,” he writes.

A student in Belgium described his first video chatting experience on a Fast Company feedback site this way: “The sickness in those cams made me feel very bad.” The student describes viewing a faux death scene complete with accompanying mood music. "(I) don't know if was hoax or not but it looked very real,” he adds.

Beyond pushing the limits of shock value, video chatting websites are raising concerns in the law enforcement community. Because the sites are live and users are not required to sign on and provide profile information, anyone of any age can be on the site. “It is going to be harder for law enforcement to track and easier for undesirables to meet willing participants,” says Stevens, who also consults with law enforcement on the subject of social media.

Unlike most other forms of social media, video chatting gives users the ability to see a fellow chatter live and in person, creating problems for law enforcement.

“(Police) sometimes catch child predators by posting fake profiles on MySpace or Facebook. But now, a child predator can see through the webcam that the teenager he believes he’s talking to is real,” she adds, noting that this makes it easier for would-be criminals to get away with preying on innocent victims.

So while Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace users grapple with keeping their privacy private, video chatters willingly open themselves up to someone random for seconds – or minutes – at a time. The longer a connection remains open, the larger the chance that users will exchange personal information such as where they live, email addresses, or even phone numbers.

This is especially true when it comes to teenagers – one of the fastest growing user groups of video chatting, according to Stevens. And while most parents vigilantly monitor their children’s use of more well known social media sites, many video chatting sites are so new that parents don’t yet know about them.

So are their ways to harness the creative ingenuity of these sites and the people around the world who use them? It depends on who you ask.

Anderson, the New York Magazine writer, went on to speculate about intriguing ways that the experience could change going forward.

“I found myself fantasizing about a curated version of Chat Roulette – powered by Google’s massive server farms – that would allow users to set all kinds of filters: age, interest, language, location,” Anderson wrote. He envisioned a more sophisticated version that might allow him to connect to people more in tune with his interests and opinions.

It’s a concept that AnybodyOutThere is already beginning to make a reality.

Tune in online to see where it goes.

Read the entire article HERE

Bookmark and Share


Leave a Reply




Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

AIPD Flickrstream

AIPD 2010 - 2011 CALENDAR


9.3.10 September Holiday

9.6.10 Labor Day

11.25 & 11.26.10 Thanksgiving

12.23 & 12.24.10 Winter Holiday

12.31.10 New Years Eve


Summer 2010
7.12.2010 - 9.25.2010

Fall 2010
10.4.2010 - 12.18.2010

Winter 2011
1.10.2011 - 3.26.2011

Spring 2011
4.4.2011 - 6.18.2011

Summer 2011
7.11.2011 - 9.18.2011


Runway shots may be seen HERE

Backstage and pre-show shots may be seen HERE

Paparazzi and red carpet shots may be seen HERE