If you aren't already familiar with it, ChatRoulette's the hot new form of extreme internet voyeurism (and insanity). Essentially, it's video-chatting with total strangers, and flying through them with a "next" button. And now, its creator's been revealed...
...as a 17 year-old Russian kid. Via the New York Times' Bits blog, who, capturing a common sentiment, were "utterly fascinated with, and sometimes repulsed by" Chatroulette, emailed its creator, and finally, heard back:
The question was answered on Saturday when Andrey Ternovskiy responded to the questions we sent to an e-mail address on Chatroulette. Mr. Ternovskiy said he was a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow.
"I was not sure whether I should tell the world who I am mainly because of the fact that I am under age. Now I think that it would be better to reveal myself," Mr. Ternovskiy wrote.
Of course ChatRoulette was created by a computer whizkid. It's at both so ingenious—and so insane—that it would take the sense of wonder, whimsy, and mischief of a teenager's mind; the spare time of a teenager to do it; and someone who grew up with the coding that most web sites use now to come up with it: someone who, like Ternovskiy, started coding when they were 11. Most interesting isn't his motivation ("for fun") or his inspiration behind it ("a certain feeling of what other teenagers would want to see on the Internet"), or even why he does it ("I enjoy what I do. It is like a game for me. I discover new things and solve interesting problems."), but rather—as someone who knows nothing about coding—the way in which he coded ChatRoulette with speed and economy, and also, the way he's not raking it on the site:
Advertising on Chatroulette is kept to a minimum, because there are a lot of sites full of advertisements, which distract you from what you want to do on those sites. I also love minimalism. That's why I have put only four links on the bottom as advertisements. And what is interesting, is that these advertisements almost cover all expenses, just those four links on the bottom!
He does it because he loves it. Meanwhile, that sound you just heard are hands slapping the foreheads of many a web sales team. That said, does anybody really know what the potential of ChatRoulette actually is, or what it can be past a voyeuristic experiment? Vanity Fair columnist and Newser "entrepreneur" thinks ChatRoulette is for the birds:
Chatroulette is a catalogue of real time phalluses. It's in your face priapicness. It's jack-off central. It's really quite astounding.
And if a Vanity Fair columnist calls it "jack-off central," than you know it must be true. Meanwhile, Sam Anderson at New York muses on its potential past "jack-off central" after spending too much time on it (which is besides, arguably, "any"):
It felt like I'd experienced the full range the site had to offer: the shock porn, the dance parties, the weirdly aggressive homoerotic banter.
Quite frankly, if ChatRoulette teaches us anything, one certain less we know—for the moment—is that kids are doing fun things because they like them, and adults are endlessly fascinated by these things that were created for kids to have after-school fun with. Also, that screengrabbing is the best thing ever, and that while ChatRoulette won't bring us world peace anytime soon, it will bring humanity priceless moments like this. Via Buzzfeed: