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Like villagers post-plague or detonation I venture into ruins for things I can’t myselfrepair or make anew: vaccinations, softened boxes full of bullets, a thumbprint bruised into my bicep.I used to hope I’d see him, in mirrorsor dark windows, in the webcam’s grainy green where I’d float, big-hairedin bad lighting and talk to strangers.The other day, an old friend told me about “Chat Roulette,” a maturing website which seems to demonstrate this collective impulse more explicitly than any bathroom stall I’ve ever been in.Launched on November 7, 2009, Chat Roulette is a one on one chat room, linking one user with another through the use of a web camera and an empty box for text.For example, the bacterium for Lyme disease is carried by wild rodents that infect the ticks that often feed on our deer population.By keeping the deer population in balance, the tick population does not explode.At any point during their interaction, either party has the option to click “stop” or “next,” instantly reconnecting them with another “complete stranger” in the available pool of users.The site has been skyrocketing in popularity since its inception in November, going from 200 users to nearly 35,000 within the last couple of months.

This particular brand of porcelain prose makes me wonder about the authors, and why the common impulse in private public spaces is to ruthlessly expose yourself to an invisible audience of complete strangers.But like any other social network with a simple infrastructure, the imperatives of Chat Roulette are user based, acting as a social canvas for common impulse and utility.Considering there seems to be no ostensible agenda for a website like this, the environment quickly turns into a dumpster for social taboo, a voyeuristic carousel that pits users against each other in an anarchic social confrontation.That will limit the number of ticks that can be infected with the Lyme disease bacterium when they bite a wild rodent.In addition, wild rodents are one of coyote’s primary foods, thus keeping their populations in check.So carnivores, like coyote, keep wildlife numbers in balance and help prevent such diseases as wasting disease in deer and rabies in raccoons and foxes.

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