Airtime connects as an app from Facebook and according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11-17 June 2012), “users can then talk to their Facebook friends, search for someone with similar interests, or just hit the ‘next’ button to find a random chat partner.”
While, I find the idea of randomly engaging online with someone intriguing, I also more find it more than a little scary not knowing who they reallyare–there are plenty of fraudsters, charlatans, and perverts out there that you would not want to be talking to.
The not so funny thing is that the precursor to Airtime called Chatroulette–was truly, as the name implies, a gamble and many times a bad one at that, with some unscrupulous users availing themselves of the video to expose themselves online.
Frankly, it seems that many people may be using these applications more as swingers to hook up, have a fling, and engage in flirtatious or even sexual behavior than for developing any sort of real meaningful relationships.
Furthermore with Airtime, based I assume on people’s Facebook profiles, “as two users converse, Airtime suggests interests and common friends they may have in common”–with these actually popping up on your screen!
Whatever happened to any sort of privacy and discretion in sharing and letting conversations and relationships evolve naturally and over time between people rather than forced and in your face!
To me even the concept of having to use video when chatting is over-rated! I think most people do notfeel all that comfortable in front of the camera and are actually more at ease talking without being viewed every moment through a lens.
I have seen cameras deployed for desktop computers that were hardly ever used. And even with Apple’s Facetime application built right into the iPhone, I rarely ever see anyone actually using this–do you?
I think this is a clear lesson with technology that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.
We need to take into account people feelings and their comfort zone, especially when it comes to privacy, and not just put them in front of every camera and float their personal interests and friends randomly or regularly.
“Discretion is the better part of valor” and it’s time to appreciate technology and social media companies and applications that recognize this and roll out services that are respectful of people privacy, security, and right to have some control over their lives.