For the past couple of weeks, I've been hearing from a number of "Fishbots". If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, there's this service called Project Upstream which runs a network of AIM bots with names like ThemedSalmon and "SweptCoho". The idea behind these bots seems to be that they collect AIM nicks and then randomly connect pairs of people. It's sort of a cool idea, if you think about it. Random, and completely anonymous, one-time contact with a person.
Just now I was speaking with somebody in the visage of "ContaryCoho". I received a message from the bot saying “Hi, Billy Mays here with another fantastic coho.”, and my conversation partner (whose name I haven't the foggiest idea about) recieved a message saying “I may be a robot, but if you say 'domo arigato' to me, I will hurt you.”; at that, we were connected. Now, did we have the most interesting conversation ever? No. In fact, I spent the first few minutes of it trying to determine whether the other end of the fishbot was connected to a person or a particularly good AI. But I still appreciate the notion of introducing a social aspect to the Internet that isn't tied into the preconceived notions of external social networks.
The way I envision it, this idea must have been thought up very early some morning when a social psych major and a CS major were still awake (and maybe a little tipsy). Then they decided to make an experiment. Which is awesome.
Currently listening to: Yo La Tengo -- 3 Blocks from Grove Street