My Take On AirTime (4)

Sean ParkerImage via WikipediaGoogle Hangouts is not it, not by a wide margin. And Chatroulette was more like Lycos. AirTime might end up the Google of the random connections space. But there is no given, even if the founder is Sean Parker. But I think this team has a shot.

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You see a big screen, a full screen, a near full screen. And in there you see a random person on the service. Could be anybody from anywhere. That randomness has got to be the starting point. I mean, we are talking world peace. The social graph that Facebook has mapped is like the solar system. The random connections space is the size of the Milky Way. But it has to be done right. There is enough broadband globally that this application could fly.

So you start with that random person, and the option to click next and move on to the next random person. But you also want the users to have the flag option to not end up with Chatroulette like penis problem. If you got flagged by 100 users, chances are you have been flashing. The flag option, the block option. You block when you don't want to see that person ever again, you flag when you think that person should not be on the service.

And then you have to give people tools. If I want my Twitter, Facebook, blog to be visible to the random people I talk to, I think I should have that option. Or perhaps there should be a layer. As in, only after I talk to you and add you to a list should you be able to see my fuller profile. Flag and block are negative. There's got to be positive versions of flag and block. Perhaps add and friend. And perhaps an element of reciprocity. As in there has to be this list. I should have the option to say I do want to talk to some random person, but only among people I have saved onto this list. So only people who are on the list and are online and are logged into the service are in that pool.

This pool concept is important. I should be able to limit myself to a city or a country. As in, show me only people from New York City, or Mumbai for that matter. I'd love to talk to people from Mumbai. You never know. You might end up talking to a Bollywood star.

Another pool could be of people with shared interests. This pool concept could be the real differentiator between Chatroulette and AirTime. I should be able to narrow down my pool. As in, I want to talk to someone in Mumbai who speaks Hindi who is passionate about Bollywood and would like to talk about the latest Bollywood hit movie.

AirTime has to allow people to specify topics of interest. Just like on Twitter you can find people talking about the most obscure topics, I think AirTime should also shoot for it. Until there is a critical mass of users on the service the searches might not bear good results, and that's okay.

And I should have the option to narrow down the pools in which I appear. As in, never show me anyone who is not in New York City. Maybe I am not a global citizen.

Meeting people who do not speak at least one language you speak might be futile. And so that language filter would be important, one would think.

There should be a little box for text chat at the bottom of the video. Sometimes you want to share links. Or the accent is getting in the way, and you want to write down a few phrases for the other party.

And one person at a time is not the best thing. People should have the option to have group conversations. The first two users of course get to decide if they will allow additional people. I might be talking to someone in Mumbai about Bollywood, and we both might decide to make the topic of our conversation public and searchable. The first two users get to be administrators with the option to boot out any of the latecomers.

Finding great people and having the option to have repeat conversations would be enticing.

The idea is to never have no one to talk to ever again. You will always have someone to talk to. And you will make new friends at a rapid pace. And these would be real people.

So random is not all that random. But there are people you don't know. But you can get to know them. That is a formula for world peace. Suddenly every little town will have become the biggest city in the world. That has huge implications. If this is not a case for universal gigabit broadband, I don't know what is.(Blueprint For The 21st Century)

And I think there is also space for random public broadcasts. As in, you are in a mood for a monologue, not conversation. And you set yourself up, and you make public the topic of the monologue, and you are searchable on the service. People have the option to find you. You get to see how many people are watching you. After a few minutes if the count is zero, I say hang up and try another time. Or not. And people should have the option to bookmark you if they like you. As in, the next time this person gets into a mood for a monologue, I'd like to know.

I should have the option to import my Facebook profile into AirTime and keep all that in the background. I want to be able to say, find people in New York City who have similar profiles and put them into a pool for me. Or I could pick specific elements of that profile and say, just find me people with shared music interests, or whatever. Or people in NYC who like walking.

AirTime just might end up being the company of 2012. It could show up with a bang.

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