In modern society, random chat websites and applications became popular for providing easy routes for people to expand the social life. A chance to start conversations with strangers from different backgrounds works as an attraction for these random chats. However, at the same time, anonymity could allow people to lie about their identity, insult or harass the other chatters, or lead to serious crimes. Are these problems people have to bear with or is clean random chat possible? What would be the solutions to problems roused from random chats? Here’s an interview with the developer Ki Woong Kwon, who launched the random chat website, ‘Handsfriend’, which aims to create a clean, safe and positive chatting culture.
|[Ki Woong Kwon(Mosball) ,25, the developer of Handsfriend, Photo Courtesy of YeonSu Kim.
|[The logo of Handsfriend ]
Q. How did you decide to develop a Random chat Web Site? And what is the meaning of the name, Handsfriend?
A. First of all, the website’s name, ‘Handsfriend’, means making friends conveniently by only using hands. I was disappointed that random chat acquired negative images because most of the random chat websites do not regulate their users’ verbal language. I wanted to solve this problem and wanted to develop a clean random chat website. Through Hansfriend, I want to change the image of a random chat by emphasizing the positive function of it.
Q. Then, what are the unique characteristics that ‘Handsfriend’ have?
A, There are three characteristics that I can tell you. First one is the Clean Filtering Function. Handsfriend incorporates the filtering program that automatically bans abusive or sexual languages. If a person uses those words, the words automatically show up in other appropriate words. This program also prevents impolite chat etiquettes such as Dobae, writing certain words overly repetitively, Jamsoo, not typing in words for a long time or business advertisements. The Second one is the accessibility of the service. Unlike other random chat websites, Handsfriend’s login service does not require ID and password, as it only uses the IP addresses. This way, the users can easily track their chatting records. The Third is the convertibility of emoji from mobile to PC websites. Most of the other random chat websites do not provide the same emoji service for mobile and computer, since the mobile emoji code differs from that of PC. So I developed a uni-code for certain emojis to make them available both works on PC and mobile.
Q. Is there any reason that you made the Handsfriend in form of the website, not the mobile application?
A. I thought the website form could be widely accepted in both mobile and Internet, rather than in mobile application. The difference between Android and IOS application program was another barrier as well when I considered the application version. For now, we are only using websites, but I would like to develop the application version of Handsfriend once after our website becomes popular.
|[Ki Woong Kwon showed the manager page of Handsfriend. Photo Courtesy of Yeonsu Kim.]
Q. What parts do you want to develop more?
A. I’m currently working on developing the chat robot because I thought users might feel bored when they’re waiting for the website to connect to another user. While waiting for the reconnection to the new user, the programmed chatting robot could talk to the users. Besides, there exist some users whose Internet servers are based in countries other than Korea. In order to make Handsfriend available to international users, I am considering adding the auto-translate program. I hope that the Handsfriend could become a source for meeting good friends, not a shameful, secret random chat website. ■
During the interview, Ki Woong’s innovative vision towards Handsfriend inspired me to break my own prejudice towards random chatting culture. If wholesome random chat like Handsfriend becomes popular, random chat websites could influence people to view the website chatting culture as a new networking opportunity.
Kim Yeon Su
Kim Yeon Su firstname.lastname@example.org
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