Thanks to Chatroulette, the ridiculously popular website that pairs random strangers around the world for webcam conversations, we have a new verb in English: to next. Two language-related blogs explain what it means.
On his blog Wishydig, Michael Covarrubias examines the phenomenon of nexting:
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.
(Read the rest here.)
Julia Ioffe profiles Chatroulette's founder, a Russian 18-year-old high-school dropout named Andrey Ternovsky, in a May 17, 2010, New Yorker article, "Roulette Russian." Here's how she explains Chatroulette and "to next":
The idea is simple. When you log on to Chatroulette.com, you see a sparse white window with two boxes. One box shows your own image, courtesy of your Webcam; the other is for the face of what the site calls, somewhat ambiguously, a "partner." When Partner appears, you can stay and talk using your voice or your keyboard, or you can click "Next," which whips you on to someone new. The point is to introduce you to people you'd never otherwise meet and will never see again—the dancing Korean girls, the leopard-printed Catman, the naked man in Gdansk.
More than a million people, most of them from the United States, clog Chatroulette's servers daily. To "next" someone has become a common transitive verb. Catman is an Internet celebrity, as is Merton the improvising pianist. Brooklyn bars throw Chatroulette parties, an indie band has used the site to début an album, and the Texas attorney general has warned parents to keep their children far, far away.