By now you may have heard of Chatroulette (chat – roulette). It’s a phenomenon whereby you can “meet” a stranger via a random webcam connection. There are no profiles to fill out, no registration requirements, no ways to predict who might be on the other end. For some, it’s a heart-racing thrill to see who appears in the video box. Driven by chance, mystery, voyeurism, and that odd human behavior of having to look at things like a car wreck, it picques curiosity and takes people-watching to a whole new level.

On the other hand, as you can imagine, it’s also a petri dish of every aspect of humanity – on one occasion, I gave it a whirl with a friend and we saw a person with a Venetian mask, another who had his webcam pointed at his chest so his face wasn’t visible, and another, well, we’ll leave that to your imagination.

Nonetheless, the utter simplicity of the navigation makes this site easy and addictive. Find a weirdo, click next. Find somebody interesting, chat away.

The psychological motivations of this site fascinate me. Like watching a scary movie or riding a roller coaster, Chatroulette provides that rush of adrenalin – not knowing what to expect and not being able to control it. And with an expectation of adventure – based in the safety of your own room – you can simply click “Next” to swiftly proceed to the next stranger. For some, it’s definitely the cat’s meow.