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Quick Pats of Butter: Creepy Cyber Strangers Edition

July 28, 2010

  • Last month Salon posted an obituary for the flash-in-the-pan phenom Chatroulette. The article recounted the site’s thrilling highs and its tawdry lows:

    Sure, the social media aspect was initially intriguing, but the mystery of what one might discover quickly became no mystery at all. SPOILER ALERT: It’s trouser meat. And while it’s true that from the beginning of civilization, men have endeavored to build monuments to their phalluses, Chatroulette’s status as an online obelisk was a shaky proposition at best. An RJ Metrics survey last spring revealed that 89 percent of Chatroulette users were male, that one in eight spins yielded “R-rated or worse” content and that “You are twice as likely to encounter a sign requesting female nudity than you are to encounter actual female nudity.”

    (via Salon)

    Chatroulette was not the first enable folks to broadcast their business to unsuspecting masses, which is why I was had absolutely no interest in the site. Woman can have the same unpleasant experience on any number of free dating sites and chat rooms; the only different with Chatroulette, is instead of grainy photos of junky bedrooms, saggy underpants and beer can pyramids, you get grainy videos of junky bedrooms, saggy underpants and beer can pyramids. Yay for technological advances. Well, apparently Chatroulette doesn’t want to throw in the towel just yet. The site wants to clean up its act and tell those greasy strangers to keep their drawers on.:

    Chatroulette has instituted other changes in recent weeks in an effort to separate potentially offensive content from people who just want to talk. The site added several adult-themed “channels,” as well as a “local” channel for people who want to talk to — or date — webcammers who live nearby. Some of the features appeared to be down for maintenance on Monday, but the blog TechCrunch says the adult channels have proved to be the most popular.

    (via CNN

    Let me know how that works out for you, Chatroulette.

  • The silly hipsterfolk at Jez offer another installment of “hipsters-run afoul of technology” with “When Foursquare gets creepy”. For those (who like me) have your hands full with Twitter and find that damn MS Word paperclip to be too intrusive, Foursquare is a social media service broadcasts your whereabouts to anyone who finds you interesting enough to care:

    Sylvia lives in Kansas City and works in online marketing. Her story, first chronicled on her personal blog and reprinted in The Guardian, is creepy on unending levels. There is the fact that he chose to call the restaurant and ask the manager to find her, based on a description culled from her profile photo. There is the threatening, teach-you-a-lesson tone, shortly after she declined to be overjoyed at his advances. And somehow, the simple act of jumping platforms — hasn’t he ever heard of tweeting at someone? — into the physical space, at an unguarded moment, is creepiest of all.

    (via Jezebel)

    While nobody deserves to be stalked, harassed or harmed for ANY reason, stories such as these beg the question: Common sense, motherfucker, do you have it?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 9:57 am

    Reading about the odds on Chatroulette reminds me of the apocryphal guy who goes up to every woman he meets asking “wanna fuck?” with the idea that if he sticks with it, eventually he’ll find one who’ll say “yes.”

  2. July 28, 2010 10:38 am

    Chatroulette seems to endorse that particular world view, enabling its users to be far more efficient in their creepery.

  3. July 28, 2010 10:51 am

    For the guy in the bar, there’s at least in theory a cost: getting a drink in the face or assaulted by a partner (or the object of his attention, for that matter). But chatroulette is like spam: the cost to play is essentially zero.

  4. IrishUp permalink
    July 28, 2010 11:00 am

    Well, I suppose there’s some cost that you could be (*ahem*) exposing your proclivities to someone you know. Imagine coming upon (so to speak) a boss or co-worker this way?

  5. badhedgehog permalink
    July 28, 2010 11:03 am

    I try never to be a proponent of “I don’t get it and neither should you” bullshit, but, that said, I really really do not get Foursquare at all. Friends who want to meet up with me can already text “oi, where you at?” to my number, which they already have.

    Very good point on Chatroulett’s very low cost to take part.

  6. July 28, 2010 11:04 am

    I think chatroulette should just embrace what they are — I mean, having cam sex with a stranger actually makes more sense to me than talking to a stranger. I barely have time to talk to my real friends!

  7. July 28, 2010 11:08 am

    Personally, I am hostile to any social media tool whose success is predicated on breaking down barriers faced by those who enjoy stalking folks.

  8. July 28, 2010 11:10 am

    I think chatroulette should just embrace what they are — I mean, having cam sex with a stranger actually makes more sense to me than talking to a stranger. I barely have time to talk to my real friends!

    Seriously! Why try to dress things up? Everyone knows Chatroulette rents space on the seedy end of the webs.

  9. IrishUp permalink
    July 28, 2010 11:40 am

    “I think chatroulette should just embrace what they are — I mean, having cam sex with a stranger actually makes more sense to me than talking to a stranger”

    What I like about this is it takes the creepy non-consensual part out. At least then all the players know what’s really at stake. I wonder though, if the ones for whom the non-consent is a feature, not a bug, don’t then creep away to something else?

  10. July 28, 2010 11:43 am

    Some things you really don’t want to get a handle on, and Chatroulette is clearly one of them.

    But yes! Four Square is like the gawker stalker thing from a few years back, only for regular people, not celebs, and it’s you reporting on yourself! The opposite of smart.

    Though gawker stalker still exists, I think now it’s not in “real time” so you can’t actually “stalk” the celebs reported about the way you used to do, unless they haven’t moved in a couple of days.

  11. July 28, 2010 12:18 pm

    By the way, thanks to this post, my inner dialog is now featuring “Yakety Sax” on continuous play. Thanks, Snarky’s!

  12. July 28, 2010 12:55 pm

    “Yakety Sax” should be Chatroulette’s theme song.

  13. eieioj permalink
    July 29, 2010 10:09 am

    First off, that is one of the best pictures EVAR.

    I feel like I’m either too old or not creepy enough to “get” most of the stuff on the internets, but Chatroullette just makes me feel ooky inside. What happened to the good ole days when flashers took to the streets in their brown trenchcoats and violated the eyeballs of anyone who walked by?

  14. July 29, 2010 11:14 am

    I think I’ve been working in service/retail too long, because shit like this does not surprise me. It is sad to me that I really see the absolute worst, stupidest, most selfish, and downright ugly behavior of human beings just by working in a grocery store. It ranges from people not wanting to pay 2 dollars for a DONATION to a local charity for a giant ice cream sundae, to sticking their dirty-ass hands into the olive bar or salad bar, to outright abusing staff, (which thank goodness my company does not tolerate). So to see someone doesn’t have the common sense to either keep their location private or only show it to friends… seems like a sign o’ the times. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to Fry Butters that there are thieves that browse Facebook for people in their general area who have left their houses (thanks to status updates and addresses in the info section) and then rob them. DUH. My Facebook is locked up like Fort Knox!

  15. July 30, 2010 2:21 am

    I have never understood for the life of me why people want to use applications to let the whole world know where they are located at every second. First of all, who the fuck are you that you’re so important or interesting that I need to know you just stopped off at Jo-Ann Fabrics before heading to the grocery store and then to the gym? But then to give me the exact locations of each place you’re going to? It almost makes me want to take a hit out on someone just because of how easy it would be.

    On the Chatroulette side, a creepy/tweaker/asshole former coworker of mine used to be on that shit in the break room all the time. And then he’d pick his laptop up and take whomever he was talking to on a walking tour of the salon. Because that is all we need: a client to see some dude on a computer screen who decides that is the ideal moment to whip his junk out.

  16. July 30, 2010 12:33 pm

    Man, whenever I hit up Jo-Ann’s I keep that shit on the DL. I also don’t need people know the moment I’ve sat down to enjoy modest priced yuppie chow at some eatery nobody outside of my state has ever heard of.

    Chatfoolette is probably a more apt moniker for that site.

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