The white, expressionless face of Chuck Klosterman stares out at me. Little is perceptible, with the shadows of the video blending in with the heavy browns of his beard. If he's wearing a shirt, its details are equally lost in shadows. But his blinking eyes, outlined in thick black hipster frames, stare out at his webcam.
Below the repeating loop of video is a trigger: Say something to Chuck Klosterman.
No. Not yet. Instead, to the right of the looping video of his face, is a list of recent questions posed to the author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Questions range in topic from how to battle writer's block to his favorite novel to his choice of breakfast food. I click one from several days ago: "Why are you doing this?"
"This" happens to be the brave, new New York-based social network launched on November 1st called VYou (pronounced with two syllables, not like "view"), an unusual network based around recording videos of yourself answering user-submitted questions. "Conversational video" is VYou's mantra. Think Formspring meets YouTube -- or maybe Big Think for the common Internet user. VYou already features a roster of impressive names among its users, many known within New York media circles but some more broadly: Choire Sicha from The Awl, author and journalist Will Leitch, Los Angeles Times and Gawker veteran Richard Rushfield, actress Kat Dennings, VYou adviser and investor Rex Sorgatz, founder of Texts from Last Night Lauren Leto, and several personalities you might have found on Tumblr circa 2008. Founders Steve Spurgat and Chuck Reina have worked at VYou for the better part of 2010 with support from a handful of investors.