Airtime vs SnapChat vs Chatroulette

The other night at dinner a friend (a heavyweight in the tech industry) made an astute observation when he said that red-hot Snapchat and totally flopped Airtime are two faces of the same coin, aka Chatroulette, the Internet sensation that allowed strangers to randomly connect via video and was well known for frequent appearance of a certain part of a man’s anatomy.

Social Internet shaman Sean Parker (who apparently is a new dad, congrats dude) bet on “meet the strangers” part of Chatroulette phenomenon with Airtime Snapchat, on the other hand, is about exposing yourself to a person you know for ever so brief (including private parts) ephemeral period and using that as a way of communication. Snapchat is part of the Alive Web revolution I had talked about two years ago and we are finally starting to see that future slowly unfold.

The opposite growth trajectories of Airtime and Snapchat provide apt testimony to who was right and who was wrong. Bottom line, unless for carnal pleasures, no one really wants to meet strangers.

Responses

  1. Nabil Takla (@Nabil_Takla) says:

    January 11th, 2013 at 4:23 pm Reply

    Does SnapChat allow you to send a Snap to random people?

  2. Zubin Wadia (@zubinwadia) says:

    January 10th, 2013 at 7:57 pm Reply

    “Snapchat, on the other hand, is about exposing yourself to a person you know ever so brief (including private parts) ephemeral period and using that as a way of communication.”

    There is a more precise explanation to why Snapchat is a success. I believe it has more to do with the feeling of connecting without consequence than it does with ephemerality and private parts.

    This little quote from Nina Khosla really nails it:

  3. Balaji Krishnan (@kijalab) says:

    January 10th, 2013 at 1:56 pm Reply

    @om, great writeup. My few cents — “Alive Web” aka “Synchronous Web” is slowly starting to happen but in the mode of short-form communication (like Snapchat) as opposed to long-form communication (like Airtime). The quick, short-form communication is important when it comes to meeting with strangers and Snapchat has done a great job in defining an “Asynchronous way” to do that. I am the founder of @dabkick (dabkick.com) and we play in the same “Alive Web” & “Synchronous” space on mobile so you can have live media based communication with your friends. Would appreciate your thoughts on that.

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