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17-Year Old Wiz Behind ChatRoulette Reveals Identity

While we've come face to face with people from all over the world via ChatRoulette, the face of the person behind this light-speed gawk-fest itself has remained shrouded in mystery -- until now. Meet Andrey Ternovskiy, the 17-year-old whiz kid behind the latest (and perhaps greatest) form of randomized social networking.

The New York Times Bits Blog recently sent an inquisitory e-mail to the address listed on ChatRoulette, and, remarkably enough, got a response. Ternovskiy explained that he'd been hesitant to reveal his identity primarily because he was still underage. "Now," he says, "I think that it would be better to reveal myself." In subsequent correspondence with the Times, he explains how he came up with the concept of ChatRoulette, saying it was originally "just for fun," without any sort of financially driven motivation. The high school student from Moscow explained that he simply did it because his friends were looking for new, more stimulating forms of communication, as Skype video chats had quickly lost their luster. Ternovskiy also says he didn't make much of an effort to promote the site, and that its popularity began to spread simply by word of mouth.

Most refreshing, though, is the teenager's earnest faith in the spirit of the site. He disapproves of the pornographic material and behavior that's become more commonplace around the roulette table, but remains confident that ChatRoulette's positives still outweigh its negative underbelly. The site's noticeably light on ads, too, because, as he says, they just "distract you from what you want to do." While Tiernovskiy says he has specific ideas about expanding the site and adding "more interesting and 'weird'" features, he also admits that he's been reluctant to tinker with the framework because he's "not even sure what ChatRoulette is." And when the creator of a social phenomenon doesn't even know where it may lead, or what it may become, you know you've reached some sort of frontier. [From: The New York Times]

Tags: chatroulette, creator, social networking, SocialNetworking, top, unknown, video chat, VideoChat