If you could do anything for the rest of your life but you had to spend the rest of your life doing that one thing, what would you do?

That is the question I decided to ask random strangers on the internet in a social experiment. I used Omegle as the testing ground over two nights. For those who’ve never heard of Omegle, it is a simple chat room which connects you to a random person anonymously. You then can talk about whatever you want and disconnect from the conversation at any time. It is basically like Chat Roulette without video (however they do have a video version too, which I wouldn’t really recommend). Overall, you’d expect the worst kinds of people to be on here looking for one thing in particular (starts with s and ends in x), so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at some of my results.

The expected response
The response of “sex” came up 12 times. Which overall was pretty high but I was expecting more than that. One person said “undress sexy women” which i guess was close. I did point out that a life of constant sex and/or undressing women would surely get very tiring and dull after a while if you had to spend your entire life doing it. Overall though, probably an enjoyable choice for a little while. One person made sure to include terms in his response and said “I will sex each and every woman”. Poor English but slightly more imaginative than some of the one word answers I was getting I guess. One person added to their response “men in pain” and “men slaves”. Little creepy.

Keep living the life i’m living
I hadn’t thought of this response but it was quite a smart one! Two people said this one (one person also said “live” which I guess is similar). It’s an option which keeps everything exactly the same as it is, despite the fact they could have had anything at all. These people were happy with their lives, which was really nice to see. These answers gave me a bit of hope for the world!

Die/commit suicide
Three people said this. One person explained that they wouldn’t want to be stuck doing the same thing forever and would rather die. I thought it was really a bit of an overreaction to the problem, I liked the “keep living the life i’m living” approach a lot more.

Travel the world
Two people said this, the idea of adventuring around the world was their choice. Simple but a great way to spend the rest of your life!

This conversation was one of my favourites. It was a girl in America who had just recently became a high school teacher. She honestly seemed to be loving it and thought that in order to be a teacher you had to live it. That it was more than a job, it was your life – she went beyond the classroom and helped students outside of class hours. This was a conversation not many would expect from a chat room filled with sex crazed strangers but it really gave me hope and reignited my desire to become a teacher myself one day!

Eat food
This answer came up twice, once as “eat Taco Bell” with no real explanation and again as just “eat food” with the explanation that without food they’d die. Then they pointed out that they’d probably end up dehydrated. All good points. Guess the key to this question is being broad enough that your actions can include food and water.

This was another inspirational topic which came up twice. It definitely is a good option as everlasting love is one thing most people are searching for, being able to be loved for the rest of your life sounds like a really nice option. One guy talked about how he’d like to be loved. He’d had a few relationships which ended with the girl letting him down in some way and he just really hoped for one girl to be different and care for him the way he wanted to care for them. He sounded like a really nice guy! He had a good friend who he had feelings for and was hoping that she felt the same way. It was definitely another uplifting conversation.

One great response 🙂

Play Starcraft
Managed to find one gamer!

Be enlightened
This was a religious response which came from the most unlikely of sources – a guy looking for sex chat. It was unexpected but nice to hear!

Playing with my dog
This was another nice response, this person seemed to really enjoy spending time with his dog. It would be a pretty peaceful way to spend the rest of your life.

Write a book which changes the world
I was pretty impressed by this response! What a great way to spend the rest of your life – knowing you’ll have an effect on the world when you’re done.

Smoke marijuana
Amazingly I only had one drug related response.

Drink beer
I felt sorry for this guy’s liver but loved his response. Beer is pretty good. I don’t know if I’d want to spend the rest of my life only drinking beer and doing nothing else though.

Two responses were more artistic/creative. One person loved to film and wanted to do that the rest of his life. The other wanted to play and compose music. Both really nice choices.

This person just really liked sleep I guess.

I clarified and they said I understood correctly. They’d spend the rest of their life motionless, doing absolutely nothing at all.

Refusal to answer the question
One response was short and to the point – “no there must be some change”. I guess we’re lucky we don’t have to do the same thing over and over again, otherwise there’d be a lot of constant reproduction.

Overall, I was happy with my results and definitely will do another social experiment with Omegle in the future! It was a really nice experience giving people a very tough and open question and seeing what they revealed about themselves in their answer. A lot of people in this world have great aspirations, hopes and dreams which was really nice to see and discuss.

In the comments, feel free to post your answer to the question too.

Just over seven months ago while reading Michael Kordahi‘s blog, I came across his twitter voting site which tallies up responses to a hashtag. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and thought it would be useful to be able to embed into a web page. I got inspired to give it a go and see how well I could adapt his code into an embeddable format.

I attempted it soon after, failed and then got a bit distracted. Long story short, seven months later when I got a new netbook and could play around with it on the bus and train to and from work, I attempted it again.

I managed to get it done using an iframe. It’s not the most amazing solution really but seems to work okay. I’m thinking it might also be possible via JavaScript and an ajax call but personally I like the iframe approach here, it keeps it all contained nicely. To make it a little bit more interesting, I put in a few extra parameters so that you can update the colours and size of fonts. I also added the ability to update the padding for everything to help when things get smaller/bigger and need more/less space.

It’s a first draft concept at the moment. There’s more that could be done but I was pretty eager to post up the first draft (only a few hours work so far):

The parameters are:

  • hashtag: the hashtag you’re searching for
  • keywords: the keywords you’re comparing
  • themeColor: three comma separated hex values for colours (background colour, highlight colour and text colour)
  • themeFontSize: two comma separated values for the font size of your theme in ems (first value is for the first text, second is for the second text which appears)
  • themepadding: the padding around various elements

<iframe src="/twittervote/twittervote.html?hashtag=nowplaying&keywords=hanson,beatles,lifehouse,gaga&themeColor=fff,ff6600,000&themeFontSize=0.7,1&themePadding=2" width="150" height="200" style="border: none;" frameborder="0">

I’d like to reiterate, this isn’t my code at all. All I’ve done is add a few style inputs and put it into an iframe so far.

A major thanks to Michael Kordahi for creating TwitterVote in the first place, it’s a really cool idea. If you’re reading this Michael, I hope I haven’t messed up your code too much! I just had to give this a try 🙂

Feel free to post up comments and suggestions. Overall it’s been a little side experiment for a bit of fun.