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The Web didn’t achieve anything like mainstream usage until well into the ‘90s; before then, the people sitting through many, many minutes of dial-up bleeps and buzzes, all to talk to pseudonymous strangers, were a very particular breed: hobbyists and early adopters and other technophilic types, each drawn to this peculiar experiment in part because it was peculiar, and its results were far from known.
You never knew quite what, or who, you would find in a Compuserve chat — or, later, a chat on AOL (c. AOL’s chief architect and longest-serving employee, Joe Schober, once described the earliest AOL chatrooms as “little frontier towns”: small and unpolished, perhaps, but pioneering — like a spark in the big Internet void.
Chatrooms were showing up in business software packages, such as Lotus and Oracle.
The rooms had become a favored hangout not only of teenagers and technophiles, but of stay-at-home moms. ” one frequent chat-er joked in 1996.) And companies that had previously eschewed their own stand-alone chat services, such as Yahoo and MSN, were beginning to offer their own.
The CB stands for citizens band radio — a relative of ham — and originally operated in similar ways, borrowing from radio’s lingo and channel system.
In one early “channel,” described by Info World in 1984, users did nothing but speak Old English and roleplay as kings and maidens.
If your buddy also has a webcam and microphone on her computer, you can see and hear her as well.
Select "Start Video Call" from the drop-down menu that appears.
It was primitive, by modern standards: Only five people could chat at once, and their messages displayed letter-by-letter as they typed.In 1993, shortly after the debut of AOL’s chatroom, the Associated Press reported, hilariously, on the “team of young, high-tech specialists” who were trying to get President Bill Clinton to host a town hall chat.(His screenname was “Clinton Pz.”) By 1997, the year AOL launched Instant Messenger as a stand-alone chat product, the company boasted an estimated 19,000 chatrooms. Messenger, you can chat with your buddies all around the world for free. Besides using Messenger to send instant messages, you can also use it to video chat if you have a webcam and microphone on your computer. Messenger allows the person you are chatting with to see and hear you in real time.