See ya, 2010! (or c u, 2010!)

As of this writing, Google’s “Zeitgeist 2010″ video, reviewing the top search terms and topics of the year in less than 3 minutes, had been viewed more than 1.6 million times. It tells of the year’s struggles achievements, milestones, tragedies, and losses. The fastest-rising search terms of the year were “Chatroulette,” “iPad,” and “Justin Bieber,” Google reports. Here are a New York Times blog post on the Zeitgeist and JibJab’s more political and tongue-in-cheek “So Long to Ya, 2010.”

As for Chatroulette (which I first wrote about here), the random-video-chat site may be “cleaning up its act,” according to good-news provider Tonic.com . We’ll see. But “thanks to cutting-edge genital detection software (no joke), the video chatting service may soon go PG,” Tonic reports, citing RJMetrics research finding that 13% of its users use the service to expose themselves. With that voyeuristic piece mixed in, the Chatroulette experienced has been called by an anthropologist “relationship tourism,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. For some young users, it’s a party game – part voyeurism, part safety in numbers, and part pile-on. “Instead of just Facebooking with friends, [users] are mocking, flirting, and partying with anonymous strangers, too,” the Chronicle reports. It adds that Chatroulette copycats have popped up: “At least two Web sites, RandomDorm and CampusLIVE, are already sanitizing the social-media carnival with knockoff sites limited to students who register with “.edu” email addresses – the hope being that if you strip away the anonymity you’ll draw fewer creeps and more girls [who also might be in various states of undress, the aim being]. Other competitors include Tinychat Next (which filters chats by subject matter), flyChat (for iPhones), and Shuffle People (like Chatroulette, but arguably better designed).” What’s sustainable about all this as a business is that some of these services will become hybrids of Web-based videochat and mobile-based geolocation services – which could be a slightly scary thought for parents, who definitely need to know about this possibility. [See also a New Yorker profile of teenage Chatroulette founder Andrey Ternovskiy of Moscow, now living in the US and School Library Journal on how educators and media specialists are dealing with Chatroulette.]


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