I'm probably a bit late to the party but, thanks to a mention in a Digital Spy thread yesterday, I found a very diverting webcam site called cam4. I'm not completely new to the world of webcams - my laptop has one inbuilt though I've never really used it, as I'm much more a voyeur than an exhibitionist, plus I don't think I make the grade. I also used to occasionally dip into a gay specific site some years back, but it didn't really hold my interest as it was full of lots of disembodied fumbling - basically it was rare to see a head shot and the footage was grainy and murky.
But I learnt yesterday that things have moved on. We've obviously had some advances in the average resolution of webcams and the rollout of broadband speeds. Many users have also learned to iron out the basic presentational errors such as low light and framing the shot for your audience. The biggest change I noticed though was the casual lack of anonymity, which now appears to be the default. Now this may be because it isn't a gay-specific site - all the guys are in one place, with the girls (plus groups and trans) in another, though you can bring all of them up, but I think few people do. Actually though, even they guys defining themselves as bi-curious, bi or gay seemed to be just as likely to show their face (amongst other things) as the straight guys.I admit there's a definite extra thrill watching the straight guys get down to business and put on a show, and there's not that many of them that actively plead for 'no men' - it's not as if they can do much about who logs in to see them. I'm sure some of the straight guys probably enjoy showing off to whoever - I've always thought that was the sign of a true exhibitionist - and I've noted that they will even fulfill requests from guys.
I wondered also though whether the culture has moved on even on those last few years and whether people's reluctance to be identified has been worn down by the spread of the 'surveillance society' where we feel we are being watched or monitored all the time anyway, or by the equally omninpresent influence of reality tv and talent shows - are people putting on a performance in a competitive way? The coolness with which the straight guys deal with their gay audience doesn't quite seem to tally with stated opinion in 'public' - something else I discovered on the very same Digital Spy thread - so perhaps this doesn't seem a public arena somehow, more of an intimate community? Equally, from my experiences of trying to find models to photograph, you really wouldn't say most guys wanted to get their cock out for a stranger, let alone finger their arse on request or cum on camera. So that's a bit of a puzzle to me.
Another thing that seemed somehow positive to me was the international nature of it. Though it's obviously limited by the different time zones and the times of day you're willing and able to be on webcam, most of the time you'll get a big range of countries represented. Last night, when there was a large amount of UK guys on, I was also also able to watch guys broadcasting their bodies from Peru, Angola, Italy and India. So this is a shared culture across the planet.
Mind you, not sure it's always to be encouraged. Two I've seen this morning (one in Norway and one in Italy) were wanking off in the office. Worse still, as I write this I'm watching one Italian guy who's driving a lorry! He even took a mobile call on cam. He's still not given in to everyone's requests to unzip his jeans, but maybe that's just as well . I have a horrible fear in the back of my head I'll be seeing a motorway crash live on cam ...
(Just in case non-one believes that last one)