Can you make a friend in five minutes? Especially if you’ll never see the person ever again? 5 Minute Friend allows you to connect randomly, via webcam, with another person somewhere in the world. You get just five minutes, then you’re done. For ever. The system will never connect you with the same person twice.
In a way, 5 Minute Friend is the perfect representation of how our society communicates these days. There is this constant desire to connect and communicate with people–and the web is increasingly employed as an efficient tool for achieving this–yet we establish very specific parameters and time frames and, increasingly, prefer if the exchange remains digital.
Five minutes seems to be the perfect modern-day time limit for an interpersonal connection. We have speed dating to help us sprint through the chore of finding a mate. We have the elevator pitch to keep us sharp and focused when meeting investors or, I suppose, actually talking to someone in an elevator. And when bringing issues to management we’ve got only a few minutes (pdf) to make an impact.
What 5 Minute Friend reminds me of, actually, is the old-school drop in. You know, when a friend or relative would just drop by unannounced and you were suddenly faced with entertaining someone on a second’s notice. It’s the digital version. I wonder how long until Miss Manners deems digitally dropping in on someone untoward?