Video chats have been around for a while, and they show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the last year of social-distancing recommendations has prompted more people than ever to try out a cam chat with a stranger.
Most video chat websites keep it simple, with an algorithm that provides random matches between users regardless of age, gender, or location. Some of them allow users to sort through the people they chat with, choosing a country or a gender that they’re most interested in. There can also be other features, like mixing video with text chat, or translating chats if users don’t share a common language.
In the vast majority of cases, video chatting is absolutely free, so you can meet strangers all day long without spending a dime. Some video chat websites have free introductory plans, which generally have pretty solid features on their own, but they also offer extra features or plans that users can pay for. These are especially popular with the video chat sites that are dating-oriented – it’s fun to step things up a notch in the hopes of getting someone’s attention.
What else do video chats offer to people? With the nearly universal presence of social media platforms, apps, and websites that also offer video chats, why have these websites continued to flourish? The main reasons are explored below.
The sign-up process is easy
Sometimes all it takes is two clicks – one to certify that you’re 18 or older, and the other for a big button that says some version of “start chatting”. No registration, no credit card on file, no pictures, names, or contact information. Contrast that with signing up for Facebook – they do everything they can to gather personal information, and then use it to link you to relevant people. It can actually take some time to fill out a profile anywhere else, but on a random video chat site, you usually only have to spend seconds.
User information and identity is protected
A few video chat sites will display a profile picture and your first name, but a large portion of them keep you totally anonymous, sometimes even providing virtual masks to conceal your face as you chat.
This is handy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, video chats are appealing because they offer a low-pressure way to talk with strangers. It’s harder to categorize people thanks to the lack of personal information that’s provided to the other users, so there are hardly any expectations regarding the nature of the conversations.
Secondly, near or total anonymity protects users from identity theft, stalkers, or scammers. Without this safety precaution, it would be a lot harder for people to be so open about themselves online. If people thought that their video chats could be linked to other aspects of their lives, a lot of previously unnecessary social inhibitions would probably reappear.
It’s easy to find people to talk with
Random video chat sites are one of the only places online where you can try to connect with a stranger through video chat, and get a positive response. That’s because everyone else on a video chat site is also there specifically to meet strangers. If you tried that on any other site or platform, you’d have a nearly 100% chance of getting turned down – it just doesn’t happen. With random video chats, though, the worst thing you have to fear is getting skipped over because you weren’t exactly what the other person was looking for.
Any given video chat site will have thousands of users online at any given moment. This is partly because of their popularity, and partly because people are signing in from all different countries and time zones. The biggest sites offer tens of thousands of users, but even sites with a few thousand users per day will give you plenty of choices.
There’s always the chance of finding a significant other
Plenty of flirting happens on random video chats, so it’s no surprise that it sometimes results in relationships. Video chats are much more personal than the text chats offered by most dating sites, so some people actually end up dating for a while entirely through video chats. If all goes well, the relationship will leave the internet and carry on in real life, sometimes for years.
They help people with their problems
People use video chats for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s just for some free entertainment, but other times it’s because they want to get a certain result. For some, it’s to alleviate their boredom or loneliness. A lot of people hop onto a video chat to do a little harmless bragging on a recently completed project. If feedback or advice is needed, it’s not too hard to get from a complete stranger – or even 10 complete strangers.
Random video chats can actually help people get over their shyness, even if it’s prevented them from making many friends over the course of their lives. Because video chats are so informal, the pressure to get it right is a lot less overwhelming – and the “next” button offers an instant escape route if something goes wrong.
In other words, video chats are a unique resource for people of all types. They’re used for anything from relaxation, to finding a new brownie recipe, to getting someone to help decide between two different outfits for an important social function. You can find old and new jokes on video chats, people doing test-runs of their own original music, or proud pet owners demonstrating a new skill that their dog just learned. The appeal is in the people who are video chatting, just as much as the sites themselves.
Video chats are here to stay
Out of all the reasons for the popularity of video chats, these are just the most common; once you give it a try for yourself, you’ll realize exactly why people love it so much. Now the only question is – when are you going to start video chatting yourself?