I still fondly remember old-school messaging platforms like IRC and ICQ from when I was a kid, some 20 years ago. Stranger danger aside, it was fun to talk to people from around the world without ever having met before. And while we have loads of new tools for staying connected, it isn’t often that I chat one-on-one with someone I’m not familiar with these days.
That’s why I was glad to stumble upon Chatible today. It’s a simple bot for Facebook’s Messenger that connects you to another person anonymously, so you can get to chatting right away, with no preset agenda.
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It’s really as simple as that. There are other apps like it, but I was drawn to Chatible simply because it works in Messenger, in which I already spend a fair amount of time and am familiar with the interface.
The app was featured on Product Hunt recently, so if you try it out now, you’ll likely find folks who discovered it on that site. That doesn’t detract from the experience in any way, of course.
I’ve been using it all morning and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Best of all, it wasn’t at all awkward like I thought it would be, given how wary we’ve become about sharing information online and being stalked or scammed unless we’re talking to people we know personally.
I shot the breeze with a grad student pursuing a degree in robotics and swapped pasta recipes and travel tips in another conversation – there wasn’t any A/S/L weirdness to deal with and I had a perfectly pleasant time.
Granted, your mileage with it may vary and there’s no guarantee that you won’t come across jerks – but it was nice to just not have to worry about revealing my online profile to someone and simply enjoying a chat like I would at a bar in a new city.
Sadly, the Web can be a dangerous place, so it isn’t easy to recommend Chatible to everyone. The service also doesn’t vet users beforehand, so there’s no telling who’ll you be paired up with.
But if you’d like to rediscover the lost of art of chatting online with strangers, it’s as good a tool as any – only it’s ready to go as soon as you fire up Messenger. Give it a go and let us know how your conversation went in the comments, and don’t be surprised if you bump into me in a chat.