The Great Internet Wasteland

If you’re plugged into the Twitter or the Facebook, or still receive the odd forward from your goofy aunt, you’ve likely stumbled upon Chatroulette, the transcontinental Internet sensation.

Developed by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old high school student from Moscow, the site has a simple premise: it takes your webcam and randomly pairs it another webcam with the implication that two suddenly connected strangers might chat.

It’s not quite sitting down to a cup of coffee, as In the Loop host Jeff Horwich found out.

Here’s Jeff’s five-minute foray in the strange world of Chatroulette. (As you might imagine, things can—and often–get a little ahh… inappropriate… when you combine a webcam with total anonymity and the opportunity to surprise a stranger.)

Take Jeff’s word for it:

Note: [The interview] contains one borderline NSFW word. (Chat Roulette itself is deeply, profoundly NSFW. As I discovered.)

If you’ve dared to try Chatroulette, what do you make of it? Just another loop in the downward spiral of decency, or a real chance (minus the exhibitionists, etc.) to harness the power of tech to connect with a broader world?