Airtime, the secretive and hyped startup created by Napster founder Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, is finally here. The name already suggested that the company had something to do with video and anyone following Sean Parker for the past couple of years should have been able to tell very easily what Airtime is, it's Chatroulette without so much of the roulette part.
A couple of years ago, Chatroulette was an internet phenomenon. The video chat site was simple, but it had a very interesting concept behind it, pairing up random strangers to chat.
If you didn't like who you found, you could simply hit the Next button and find someone more interesting.
Not only were the pairings completely random, since you had no way of knowing who you'd end up with, but users were also anonymous, so they could just be themselves.
The idea was a hit, but it's biggest selling point was also its biggest weakness. Enabling people to just "be themselves" will probably reveal that a lot of people want to, well, reveal themselves. With no accountability, the site brought out the flasher in a lot of users.
aims to solve the problem quite easily, by having users log in with their Facebook accounts. With their names and photos attached to their profiles, people are going to behave themselves. But perhaps Airtime greatest feature is its biggest weakness as well, since people behaving nicely is rarely interesting.
There's no way to cultivate a new personality or just claim to be something you're not (which is not always a bad thing). Still, at least common interests are listed when you're paired up with a random stranger, so you'll have something to go on if you want to strike a conversation.