From the word “chat”, which means informal conversation, online chat can be any form of communication on the Internet. However, it is more often used to refer to text-based group chats or a direct one-on-one chat. Text-based means using text as input and receiving text as output. Old forms of chat rooms are only text-based. Some tools used for online chat are Internet relay chats, instant messengers and talkers. An example of an instant messenger is Yahoo Messenger, which allows voice chat and text chat at the same time. Some chat rooms have a graphical user interface or GUI, which enables the user to modify his chat environment. Internet relay chat is a text-based chat system, where rooms are called channels. But the popularity of these kinds of chat rooms has declined through the years. Users are now accessing chat rooms from AOL and web chat sites.
While some still need to install applications to start chatting, web chat is a type of online chat that allows the user to communicate in real time without the need to install software specialized for chatting. It uses web interfaces, and that’s why it is well-known for its simplicity. The only thing required to access a web chat is a web browser. However, some prefer using instant messengers rather than web chatting. It is because they don’t have the same network effect. Crowded chat rooms can sometimes be annoying and confusing, especially to novice web chatters. Instant messengers on the other hand are gaining popularity, since it is easier to communicate using them especially when it is business talk. As far as accessibility is concerned, hands down to web chat. Right now the hottest trend in the world is mobile chat or SMS chat.
However, if you really like to meet many people all over the world, then it is better to join online chat communities. If your purpose is to gather as many friends online as possible, then this is really for you. No downloads and no software are required. All you have do is register a nickname. Date of birth is also requested as you register.
Each chat room has a different assigned age bracket. Sometimes, each room is classified not by age but by topics. This way, people who want to chat can pick their own room that they feel like joining. Also, the moderators want to separate kids chat from adult content chats. Unfortunately, there is really no assurance that the chatter is really old enough, since there is no way the moderator can verify the birth date he entered during registration.
Most people who like to chat enter chat rooms because they want to meet interesting people. Interesting, in a way that can lead to dating. Online dating sites are created to grant such wishes. Through virtual dating, people can get to know the other person without the need to meet in person, saving time, money and travel. Some sites not only offer chats, but also chat forums, games and other downloadable applications.
Online chat communities observe chatiquette, or chat netiquette. These are basic rules of online chatting to avoid misunderstandings and promote courtesy. Chatiquette will vary in every online chat community. One common rule among communities is the avoidance of using capital letters in chatting, since this equates to shouting and displays rudeness.