When the actor Ashton Kutcher was in Moscow in February, as part of a U. State Department technology delegation, he berated Ternovskiy for what his stepdaughter had seen on the site. There is, for example, the video of the dancing banana, crudely drawn on lined paper, exhorting people to “Dance or gtfo!
” (Dance or get the fuck out.) The banana’s partners usually respond with wiggling delight.
On Chatroulette you can always just disappear.“People are, from a gut, instinctual level, so interested in finding each other.
You see the lonely in people,” says Scott Heiferman, the founder of Meetup, a site that facilitates in-person meetings for people with common interests.
Ternovskiy was supposed to show foreign tourists around the shop, pulling various nesting dolls, lacquered boxes, and kitschy Soviet paraphernalia from the bright vitrines.
The job was easy but exhilarating.“I was really excited to work there, because I met, like, hundreds of different nations in a day,” Ternovskiy said recently at a coffee shop near his mother’s apartment, in the far reaches of northwestern Moscow.
He worked tirelessly, and began to learn German, Spanish, Italian, French, and even some Turkish. By the second week, he could size up a customer’s nationality and address him in his own tongue.
He didn’t, however, take quite as well to the business side of things.
Brooklyn bars throw Chatroulette parties, an indie band has used the site to début an album, and the Texas attorney general has warned parents to keep their children far, far away.
When you do decide to stop and engage, things can get a little awkward.