Live Streaming Surprise on Omegle
By: Ben Thomas
When shelter in place restricted real-life socializing, we collectively looked online for ways to replace what we were missing. Zoom happy hours, Twitch concerts, virtual trivia nights. You name it, we tried it.
But we’re months in now, and the new and novel has become less…novel. As people search for something to add excitement to the monotony of another day spent indoors, new platforms are gaining popularity. For example, Omegle, a site that randomly pairs users via video and text chat, has had a huge spike in usage, especially amongst Gen Z. It’s also become popular with TikTok and YouTube influencers, with chance meetings between influencers and their fans on Omegle becoming a viral video trend.
In a time when every day feels like Groundhog day, the randomness of the Omegle pairings is what has made it popular; it’s a proxy for the serendipitous meetings people might have had at a bar, event or a party before COVID. And whether or not Omegle’s popularity quickly wanes (safety of its young users is a big concern), the underlying need for surprise and connection will persist until the pandemic is over.