So today I decided to check out one of those random chat websites, http://omegle.com/. I can’t decide whether this was a good or bad decision. On the one hand, I spent hours and hours on it only to confirm that internet chat has not evolved since the advent of AOL back in like ’93. On the other hand, I think I made some strangers laugh, so it wasn’t all for naught. On the other other hand, it showed the dire state of historical and political knowledge among the users of that site, and thus probably the under-25 population in general, much to my dismay.
I found this out by using the “Spy Mode,” whereby one person poses a question and watches two strangers discuss it. I chose a very simple question: “Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel?” I didn’t think anyone would have a problem with this. For one thing, if you don’t have opinions about the two most powerful women since Catherine the Great, you should probably form them; for another, the terms of the comparison are left ambiguous, meaning they could be evaluated on anything from political acumen to overall hotness, or any combination thereof. Boy was I wrong. The discussions that arose fell into two categories; the chatting strangers either admitted ignorance of one or both of them and quit, or they traded obscenities until they got bored and left. And so I learned the hard way that people go on random chat sites for purposes far different from discussing influential female Heads of State.