Written by: Taylor Levy, 9th Grade, L’Chaim BBG #2444.
International Convention (IC) 2021 was different from a typical IC for many reasons. However, it also brought many new experiences. One of the unique features of IC 2021 was Meet Up, or as most would refer to it, BBYOmegle, for its similarities to Omegle, a popular chat website. The Meet Up feature allowed IC delegates to connect with a random participant from across the world with a click of a button, have a 3-minute time slot with the option to extend it, and leave any time, even mid-sentence. If you were lucky, maybe you even had the chance to meet “chicken man.” This distinctive Meet Up feature was part of the Hopin platform used throughout IC, alongside the “mainstage,” “sessions,” and “BBYO boulevard” where many IC programs took place.
BBYOmegle led to many common experiences, some of which likely happened to you if you tried it. Here are some of my favourites:
- That moment when the time is just about to run out, and they don’t accept the extension, so you lose that person and the conversation forever. It’s pretty sad, especially if you didn’t even get their Instagram or snapchat.
- That feeling when you just want to leave a boring conversation that you’re having, but you are just too polite. It is very awkward.
- That feeling when you “connected” with someone from your own region and, since you already know them, you both just start awkwardly laughing. It’s pretty funny, and some of my favourite memories happened this way.
- Of course, you cannot forget about that feeling when you “connect” with your best friend.
- Finally, a very strange moment that happened to me multiple times: When you connect with a random person who is crying or caught up in a previous meet-up, so you’re nice and chat with them, even if you have no clue what’s going on.
Before I hopped into IC 2021, I met one of my closest friends, Casey Miller. Casey is a junior (Grade 11) from Michigan Region. I interviewed them because they loved BBYOmegle, here’s what they had to say:
Jadyn: How did BBYOmegle make your IC experience better?
Casey: BBYOmegle changed the way that I think of a virtual program. I would’ve never thought of this feature, until I logged into Hopin. This feature is truly a WOW factor that has never been seen before by teens, and now all of my BBYOmegle friends are sharing the link [to a petition] to keep BBYOmegle alive forever. Here’s the link!
Jadyn: What was your favourite BBYOmegle memory?
Casey: My favourite BBYOmegle memory hands down was meeting new people from all across the world, such as BBYO Balkans, BBYO Austria, BBYO South Africa and so many more. I stayed up way past my bedtime, and for my sake, it paid off. I got to meet teens from BBYO Australia when it was their morning, and I got to meet so many more international members, with pretty cool accents too.
Jadyn: Are you still in contact with the people that you met on BBYOmegle? If so, do you feel that they are now some of your closest friends?
Casey: I am 100% still in contact with the people that I met on BBYOmegle, whether through iMessage, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Instagram, or Snapchat, and so many more diverse platforms. I would say that the people that I met on BBYOmegle during IC 2021 are some of my closest friends that I will be staying in contact with.
Sometimes, when too few people were on BBYOmegle, you would either get matched with the same group of people, or you would wait to get matched with “the next person available”. One time, I was on FaceTime with my friend Jadyn Right (Dor Chadash BBG #2404), and at the same time, we “connected” on BBYOmegle together because there was no one else wanting to meet up at the time. It was so funny, and definitely a great memory we shared while laughing on two calls together at once.
Meeting new people in a unique way, such as BBYOmegle, made members forget all about having to be at home during IC, and it allowed us to form new bonds and connections with teens that members would not have otherwise had the chance to meet. Take the feeling of getting pushed into a random room with random people in-person, bring it online, and call it BBYOmegle.