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March 05, 2012

Fans of the boy band One Direction do this thing where they plan a mass takeover of the chat site Omegle. I went undercover to find out why in Niall Horan's name they bother. These are all real conversations.



Apparently fans of the band One Direction occasionally do this thing where they “take over” the website Omegle. I’m not sure what they’re trying to prove exactly. In my experience, Omegle is a website where people can go to freely spout racial slurs, regardless of accuracy or how it might hurt my feelings. So of all websites I can’t really see why all these One Direction groupies would want to “take the site over”, or what they were trying to prove. Nothing good has ever come from a planned hostile takeover. Remember Pearl Harbor? That begat one of the worst movies ever made.

I decided to make it my quest to find out what the appeal was for Directioners (that is what the cool kids call them) to want to run this place.  But to do that, I had to become a Directioner. I had to learn to think like one of them. Using the word “think” loosely of course.

How lucky I was that this was one of the first people I met: 


This went on for an agonizingly long time. More than I care to admit, but I decided that I was not going to forcibly end any conversations, just see how they played out. This person told me a few interesting tidbits that helped me on my quest, though. We One Direction fans greet each other on Omegle by asking “HORAN THE WORLD?” to which the other fan responds, “Curls”. Like so.  



Another common One Direction greeting is “VAS HAPPENIN”. I was getting greeted like this a lot even before I knew what One Direction was. I just assumed Omegle had a very large Transylvanian population, and everyone knows Transylvanians have atrocious spelling. More often than not in this experiment I just met the kind of person who made me question why a group of tweenage girls would want to plan a mass “takeover” of a site populated by guys like this. 



Eventually someone explained the “Horan” thing to me. Niall Horan is one-fifth of One Direction, and his tweenage fans take him seriously. You can ignore the use of apostrophes, fine. Substitute “u” and “r” for barely longer words all the time, whatever. But you best not misspell the sort-of name “Niall”, or you gonna get cut. 



I learned soon enough that One Direction fans had really done a number on this site. The site’s sole purpose is to generate random people for you to chat with, and everyone out of the seemingly thousands online was taking about Niall and the boys. I learned to assume everyone on the site was talking about it. I give kudos to this one user, though, the sole person in a sea of blind ignorance that saw through my guise. 




Finally, my experience came full circle. Now it was my turn to teach those in the dark about the joy of One Direction. I made a new friend abroad while doing so. Thanks to me, the albums of boy band One Direction will be flying off Indian shelves, purchased by 15 year old boys who need something to dance to while seducing their prearranged wives. And that, children, is the magic of Bollywood.