Technology has helped people find love in the most unlikely of places. They put themselves in the line of fire on reality TV shows, online dating sites and even location-matching apps hoping to find The One.
And now, Chatroulette has led one couple down the altar of matrimonial bliss. (At least they've lasted longer than some couples from "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," so far.)
As reported by the UK's Daily Mail, Alex and Siobhan Rodgers, married in August, first met through the site in November 2009, which allows strangers to randomly chat with one another via webcam, moving onto the next person with a click if the one in front of you doesn't suit you.
Siobhan Rodgers, a 23-year-old from Michigan, told the paper, "I thought he was really hot and we got talking — we spoke for six hours! We started to panic that we might press the next, button and we would be lost forever, so we added each other on Facebook."
They pursued a more traditional online courtship via Facebook and Skype, with London-based Alex Rodgers finally visiting his beloved and her family in April 2010.
He told the Daily Mail: "'I was blown away with her beauty, and we immediately clicked. I just really fell for her. There was spark and it was a bit flirtatious and we seemed very keen and interested in each other."
He proposed in February 2011 and six months later, they wed. Now living in London, they're testimonials to the power of chance meetings.
It's a sweet, almost innocent, departure for Chatroulette, which has often had its more seedier underbelly exposed, even as more than a million people logged on in its heyday.
In February 2010, it was still in its honeymoon phase, and msnbc.com's own Helen A.S. Popkin even tried it out, making it to one "awesome conversation" — after clicking through five naked men to get there! As only she could describe it:
Image after poorly-lit image of people, eyes glassy and jaws slack, can be more depressing than all the dude junk you have to wade through to find them. At least on Facebook and Twitter, you don’t have to look at the people you don’t really know. And that’s another thing. There’s a familiar vulnerability on Chatroulette. Some who’ve used the site compare it to the early days of the Internet where you jump in and anything can happen. Even if you’re completely dressed, you’re still exposed.
In an msnbc.com poll taken in Feb. 2010, the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4,000 people who responded — 49.2 percent — said Chatroulette was "a flash in the pan" (vs. 10 percent who thought it was the "new Facebook." Comments included doozies such as, "I see it degenerating into a sex site even if that wasn't the initial intention," or, "If they can keep the site free from a sausage showcase, then there is a lot of potential. If not, it will die fast."
Two years later, it's still alive and well (like those reality TV shows and online dating sites), though there is a "Safe mode" that allows users to choose their nudity tolerance level (from broadcasting the full monty and not caring about seeing others in their birthday suits to not allowing it at all). It's also set up to give users the basics of those they're chatting with: name, age, sex (as in female or male, not as in if you want it), location and interests like music, movies and games.
Would you use it to find love? Take our poll and let us know.
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