Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yahoo Chat

Have you been on Yahoo chat recently?

I haven't been in a chatroom in maybe 15 years. But I started messing around in a few chatspaces in the past couple days.

Wow. Sad. So very sad.

First - and this is hardly news to most folks, but it surprised me - most of the "people" participating are 'bots. I'm not talking about Turing Test experiments. No, just random assortments of come-on lines designed to get you to enter a private chat space. Then, the hook:

"Wanna come [or some variation] to my website? My cam is switched on!"

Uh huh. The URLs to which these invites lead are crazy quilt addresses linking to God knows where.

Occasionally real people troll the sites too, seemingly never choosing to talk about the ostensible purpose of the chatroom (parenting, computers, whatever). Mostly it's folks yelling into the void: "Are there any humans here?" Sometimes its just an assemblage of goofy oddball pranks (eg., "I put on my robe and wizard hat"). I played along, too. But it got boring real fast.

Amid all the invitations for porn, viewing Yahoo chat is kind of like checking my old Yahoo mail account. Except that it scrolls on its own.

Yeah. I don't think I'll be back.

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