New to Random Video Chatting? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know

You know that feeling when you show up to a party and you seem to be the only newcomer in the friend-group? It’s easy to feel something similar when you start random video chatting without really knowing what you’re doing. There aren’t really that many rules, per se, but you have this sneaking suspicion that you’re missing something that everyone else already knows about.

Fortunately, video chat sites like Camsurf give you a pretty low-pressure environment in which to figure everything out – and you’ll even have fun as you do it! But why figure out the unspoken rules on your own when you can learn about them beforehand? It’s probable that nothing described below will come as a revelation, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a little nudge to get you going in the right direction.

  1. Keep an open mind

Random video chats are a great way to introduce some variety into your life, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll love every chat the algorithm chooses for you. You might get matched with someone who’s a bully, or with someone who’s just irritating. On some occasions, you might get into a conversation and realize that it’s turned into an argument. If you find yourself at odds with a chat partner, ask yourself if it’s time to end the chat then and there. Some arguments are just a waste of energy, so there’s no point in spending any more time in that particular chat than you have to. However, if your chat partner just wants to explain their side of the story, you should consider hearing them out. Even if you’ll end the chat without having changed your opinion, it could still be educational for you to hear about an issue from an unfamiliar perspective.

  1. Guard against identity theft

Let’s start with the good news: pretty much every random chat site already has measures in place to protect your identity. For instance, if you start chatting without registering, it’s impossible for anyone to hack your profile – because it doesn’t exist. It’s also common practice to show only a limited amount of information to your chat partners, if any at all. At most it’s just your first name, the country you’re from, and your age.

Thanks to these measures, identity thieves usually won’t target your profile; they’ll try to get the information directly from you. Fortunately, the solution is simple – just don’t tell them anything!

That may sound easy enough, but scammers won’t seem like scammers at first; they’ll probably seem like nice people who just want to be friends. Whatever angle they take, whether it’s to make you feel special, or to get you to feel sorry for them with a hard-luck story, you should always have certain personal boundaries that just don’t get crossed. This includes telling another random chatter your last name, the address of your home, workplace, or school, or your contact information. It may be harmless to discuss most of these things in real life, but there are unique risks that come with random video chatting that you should be prepared for. As long as you firmly decline to tell anyone your personal details, any scammer you come across will realize they’re getting nowhere and leave.

  1. Assume that any given random chatter is probably legitimate

Yes, you read that right, and there’s a reason why this is the follow-up to the advice about scams. If you’re constantly on high alert about the possibility of identity theft, you won’t be able to fully appreciate all the people you chat with who are there for some harmless amusement. Remember that you’re in control of your own information, and let yourself enjoy each chat for what it is.

  1. Get your presentation right

This isn’t to say that you can’t video chat in your pajamas if you want to; everybody has those days. What’s more important than how you dress, though, is the lighting. A bit less important, but still worth considering, is the background of your video chats.

Let’s talk about lighting first. What you see in real life is definitely not what your chat partners see; if you have a temperamental webcam, you might even have to use the lighting to compensate. If you know that your lighting setup could use some work, the first thing to check is the angle. Any extreme angle will make you look odd, so play around to find which angles work best for you. The second thing to check is the strength of the light. If your environment is too bright, everything will look washed-out. Instead, try to get a more diffuse light source if possible.

Your background isn’t quite as important, but it still influences the way other chatters perceive you. If it’s too bare or too cluttered, that sends a subtle message that you don’t take whatever you’re chatting about all that seriously. For some people, that’s actually the case, which is fine. If that isn’t you, though, maybe it’s time to find a more appealing background.

  1. Hold up your end of the chat

There’s often more to random video chatting than just having a back-and-forth conversation, so it pays to have suggestions and ideas in the back of your head in case a normal chat isn’t doing the trick.

You could suggest a game like “20 questions”, or offer to debate them on a subject like “deep dish pizza vs. thin crust pizza”. Talk about your pets, or describe the vacation you’re hoping to take someday. You don’t have to think of anything mind-blowing; just go for things that are entertaining and have broad appeal.

Above all, remember why you started random video chatting in the first place!

The specific reason will be different for everyone, but they all have one thing in common – they’re doing it because they want to. Whatever your own reason happens to be, make sure you’re having fun!

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