Everyone's talking about Omegle, a new chat website which promises to hook you up with a random person on the Internet. It's the perfect antidote to Facebook's real-people prissiness: Social networking with perfect strangers.
According to the Omegle blog, the site is the brainchild of Leif K-Brooks, an 18-year-old high school student who lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. Which makes perfect sense: If you've been to Brattleboro, it's easy to imagine how quickly a clever teen might run out of interesting people to talk to. And yet Facebook, with its insistence on real names, has made making friends online so cumbersome. Part of Twitter's charm is its throwback use of quirky Internet usernames. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg goes by "finkd" on the message-broadcasting service.)
Omegle takes that one step further, replacing goofy pseudonyms with perfect anonymity. (Chat partners are identified simply as "stranger.") It's the Internet-chat version of truckstop-bathroom sex — hotter because you don't know who you're hooking up with.
And yet it's over so soon.