by Adam Daniels

Like most social networks, the concept of Chatroulette is simple: Turn on your web cam and connect with strangers from all over the world. If you donâÄôt like who youâÄôre talking to, you can move on to the next person with a click. Combine this with a couple cocktails and you have what is quickly becoming an obsession. A friend of mine recently convinced a group of us to log on and experience the magic. It quickly consumed our entire Saturday night. My friend assured us any initial shock would soon pass and, though IâÄôm not proud to admit it, she was correct. Chatroulette is a constant cycle of either two girls, a group of broskis, a weird shirtless guy, a penis, a tween giving the middle finger or a picture of Hitler. After a string of lame people, we connected with three lively Parisians. Even though it was 11 p.m. in Minneapolis and 6 a.m. in Paris, our new cyber pals wanted to party with us. It was a party in the USA and France. An avid Chatroulette user could argue that a meeting like this is exactly what the site is for. You get to meet people from other countries and you can find out about their culture. Your global perspective is widening before your very eyes. That argument didnâÄôt really hold up for us âĦ It didnâÄôt take long for the inevitable alcohol-induced question to arise: Can we see some body parts? The lone female was far too eager to take her top off and the two males even ended up unzipping for us. So, so wrong, yet we cheered them on like we were at a Lady Gaga concert. I know. Big deal. None of us are going to run into each other in the near future. Well, I recently learned you may be closer to some people than you think. Shortly after my first time, I received a couple texts. âÄúI met someone you know on Chatroulette.âÄù Whoa, whoa, whoa. First, out of 26,000 users, what are the chances? Second, how did my name come up in the conversation? Turns out, after they realized they were both in Minneapolis, they Facebooked one another and I am their one mutual friend. Alas, their meeting has yet to form a friendship, even a Facebook one. So, is this the future of social networking? Who knows? Personally, I think my relationship with Chatroulette has been a bit too hasty. I just need some space. I donâÄôt know if IâÄôm ready to commit and I think we might need to take a break. ItâÄôs not you, itâÄôs me. Adam Daniels, University undergraduate student