I’ve been hearing some rumblings about ChatRoulette for a couple weeks now but I was never inspired to check out the newest social media flavor of the month until Phillip Rhoades deemed it important enough to write about on Marketing Conversation. Well, I guess Monica Hesse deemed it important enough to write about for the Washington Post first, but I happened to check Marketing Conversation first this morning…so Phillip gets the credit.
Basically, ChatRoulette is a website that connects you through video and chat with a random person once you log in and hit “play.” Then you can either decide to interact with them or move on to the next randomly selected person. Curiosity peaked, I visited the ChatRoulette site only to be greeted with a live video of the torso of a hairy man in a bubble bath…GROSS. Not appropriate video content for a girl sitting in public at Starbucks (or sitting anywhere for that matter).
Not wanting to give up on anything abuzz in the social media space too quickly, I gave ChatRoulette a second try. Maybe this time I’d get something Starbucks-appropriate. Fail. Another hairy torso, and the camera was moving south. I’ve never hit exit so quickly.
The WaPo article reports that 20,000 are now using the site at any given time. Perv percentage is probably up around 99%. The other 1% are probably harmless weirdos providing funny/interesting/entertaining content that keeps people coming back. And because so many people are coming back, advertisers are jumping on board to capitalize on the exposure. This is where brands need to be diligent in designing their social media strategy and outreach to fit in with the larger communication and marketing picture – and just not jumping in bed with the flavor of the month because that’s where the kids are playing. I don’t think any company wants their product associated with hairy torso man…well maybe if you are selling bubble bath.
I agree with Phillip in hoping that ChatRoulette goes away pronto.