Talking to Strangers During COVID-19: Is Omegle Right for You?

Photo Courtesy: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images

Without a doubt, we’re all looking for ways to connect with one another amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, we’ve all gotten way more comfortable with Zoom than we’d ever imagined we would. (And, in some cases, the platform’s gone too far.) After all, Zoom is the go-to platform for meetings, happy hours, birthdays, classes, comedy shows and everything else not worth streaming on Twitch. And short-form, creator-driven social media platforms, like TikTok, have experienced incredible booms.

Now that we’re craving simple human connections more than ever, it’s not surprising that other platforms geared toward fostering a sense of connectedness have emerged. One of the breakout services bridging that social distancing gap is Omegle, a site that allows you to talk to strangers at the click of a button. The sales pitch? The "internet is full of cool people; Omegle lets you meet them." This concept might sound familiar, especially for folks who dipped their metaphorical toes into Chatroulette over a decade ago.

Like anything, there are some interesting upsides to the service, like the way chatting with a stranger is mimetic of those bar experiences we’re all sorely missing, or the fact that Omegle has served up some viral hits for influencers (more on that later). At the same time, there are certainly some safety concerns too — again, not unlike Chatroulette or any old-school text-based chatroom. But first: the basics.