Sunday, May 09, 2010


From the Chatroulette anonymous video-chat craze are born all varieties of rules and strategies that soon become recognizable when wasting 15 minutes (or 2 hours) on the site.

And of course some new words. My favorite: next v.

What do you do when you see something or someone on your screen that you know you don't want to keep seeing? You next them. There's a handy little 'button' at the top of the screen that shuts them off and gives the chamber another spin. It's a lot of power.

I had been thinking that "to next" simply meant to hit that little button at any point in the conversation. According to this amusing and informative video, to next is more specific than that: it's clicking the button immediately on seeing the other person. He even provides his own little definition card for the word.

1. to be rejected, denied, cold dissed
2. when a random stranger clicks the next button immediately after seeing what you look like.

I get nexted a lot.

Who knows if it's got the legs. A Google™ search brings up 35,500 raw hits for the -ed form, nexted. Nexting gets 121,000 hits, but from a greater variety of context, not all related to this use. Interestingly, the -ing form has another even more specialized use: nexting is an activity in which a group of friends gathers together to watch the Chatroulette screen together, to laugh and point at, or just have fun with the people they're connected with. There's a divergence here from the sense of turning away immediately. The "nexting parties" I've seen on there often engage with me. They like to make comments about my beard, and call me Kimbo. Or Kerry King.

Discourse is interesting on the site. The strategies for engaging and sizing up your "partner" are starting to reveal some patterns. Tests of verity and other feelers are common. Is this a real person I'm talking to? (There are several programs that make "fake" screen characters an issue.) Is this person a pervert? Is this person cool? Is he creepy? Is she freaky? It's a minefield on there and people have learned to do a lot of careful navigating thru it all. From the obvious opening line "Don't next me!" to the more inviting "before you go, can i ask you something?"

A word of caution: Chatroulette brings out the worst in people. Mostly in males. One reason nexting became so common and so necessary was the ubiquitousness of self-gratification. Ten minutes on that site makes me want to seriously reconsider shaking any guy's hand again. Because now I know exactly where they've been.

Update: Fritinancy has posted more commentary on next, with the important note that the verb isn't new to Chatroulette. She finds a definition dating back to 2004. Tho as she adds, that's "if Urban Dictionary's contributors are to be trusted." My advice: we should never trust them, but we can often believe them.

It makes perfect sense that this verb isn't brand spanking new. The word already works well in contexts apart from the website. This new, more specific meaning, can be the focused boost a word sometimes needs to be revived into a new, maybe different, life.


  1. I really enjoyed that link from last year about the O Fortuna parody. It got me interested enough to actually start appreciating the original O Fortuna, and to a lesser extent the rest of the music in the Carmina Burana.

    Still reading this blog faithfully.

  2. thank you for still stopping by, anonymous reader!

  3. Is the real test the word's use outside of CR? "I was totally nexted at my job interview" or something like that?

  4. that would be one possible change and i don't think it's a long way off if these video chats hold our gaze.

    but it's not a necessary change for the word to become established. the resurgent "to friend" sees relatively little use outside facebook. but facebook has become such a topic of common conversation that friend has been established even tho largely contained. and it'll likely last when facebook fades away and other similar platforms provide an opportunity for something similar to friending.

    i can certainly imagine the undergrad bar scene being full of "nexting"… seeing how in my experience, the word would have been most appropriately useful.

  5. I can't get it to work. Not sure I want it to, but...

  6. Oh, I got it working. Ow... my eyeballs!

  7. Is it simple rejection, or rejection in favor of trying some(one/thing) else? That is, "I got nexted at my job interview" wouldn't work, it seems to me, if you were the only, or the last applicant. Or is the immediacy of the rejection what counts?


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