What ever Happened to Chat Rooms?

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Internet and SEO - Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Does anybody even use chat rooms anymore? Besides the bots, that is? Or is it bots just annoying each other?

Chat rooms all started with IRC, the Internet Relay Chat system that actually predates the World Wide Web! IRC was sort of fun – it was like multiplayer Unix shell with a hundred commands that could do all kinds of stunts but which you needed a reference manual to look up the options for every time.

Then they came up with ICQ. If flower children from Haight-Ashbury designed a program while under too much angel dust, ICQ looked pretty close to what they would get. It was like the Fred Flintstone primitive instant messenger, but with silly features like manual typewriter noises, little Munchkin-voices “hello”s and “yoo-hoo”s, and of course your online, offline status was indicated by the color of a flower. It was still mainly a chat room app.

Then came AOL and Yahoo, and they killed the chat room deader than William Shatner’s career. “A/S/L??? ASL???” It stood for Age, Sex, and Location. This only mattered because the only thing you were supposed to do in chat was have cybersex. Come on, admit it, you tried cybersex once, too, didn’t you? Weren’t you just curious? And how much fun did you have? NONE! That’s what! You had no fun at all! Cybersex turned out to be about as sexy as having your parents in the room while you read National Geographic!

There is no limit to how brainless chat became after the great web explosion. When the bots came along, pushing Viagra, home mortgages, and dating services in the chats, you almost welcomed them. They were easy to spot; they were the only ones trying to carry on an intelligent conversation with you. Also, the bots were the only ones who could spell. Dead giveaway, right there.

Cell phones, VOIP networks, texting, and the social web have all killed the chat. Anything that’s too urgent to say on a blog is too urgent to send in chat. But don’t despair! If you really want a good, quality experience in an old fashioned chat, now is the time to enjoy it. IRC is still live and kicking, it’s easy enough that you can get it as a plug-in for your Firefox and point-n-click to start chatting, and is finally filled with nothing but smart people looking for some interesting time together. Just like you hoped chat would be like 20 years ago.


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9 Responses to “What ever Happened to Chat Rooms?”

  1. Tamar Weinberg Says:

    I don’t think chat rooms are *entirely* dead – I still idle on IRC in case of emergency. You’re right though: the social web is here now. Newer sites have taken on the “chat room” theme, like Twitter and even Facebook.

    The benefit to the latter is that it’s more personable (images, biographies, more information about a person) than just a regular name that isn’t particularly that outstanding in a sea of black and white text.

    It’s evolution for sure.

  2. University Update - Yahoo - What ever Happened to Chat Rooms? Says:

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  3. Comrade Smack Says:

    I agree mostly with Tamar.

    I think that although IRC does in fact still exist (though is probably most used for remotely fiddling with botnets) it usually is full of the sort of geek you’ve previously blogged about.

    I think that the new Chat Rooms are Social Networking pages such as MySpace, Facebook, et cetera.

    It’s probably because the newer generation just likes aesthetics so much.
    IRC is to MUD as SecondLife is to World of Warcraft.

  4. David Says:

    I always thought they were stupid. Plus, people would sometimes log on to troll and cut in making nasty comments. I used them a few times but got bored with them.

    The new social software sites are great, plus you can have more control over haters and people who are creepy.

  5. Salami Says:

    I actually picked up a chick in a Yahoo chatroom and banged her. It was fantastic. No way that’ll happen again since the robots have taken over.

    It definitely all started for me with AOL 3.0. I would hex people’s progs to put my own alias on it, as if I built the thing myself. Pissed many of people off with “my” famous anti-booter. I would get people’s passwords and create my own ID with their membership. Usually get “TOS”d from being in “pic trading” rooms. Good fkn times. I stopped shortly after 4.0 came out though because I started smoking weed, but nevertheless…

    I’m sure you have your own story too.

  6. Dan Says:

    Too Funny ! All true, but some of us really enjoyed it, now there is no cybersex, and everything is boring as hell, gone back to formal, suit and tie idiots trying to impress one another with wit, and it is all publically extremely boring, just so we can keep jobs and ego.

  7. Cristian Says:

    Yeah, AOL chat rooms got me laid too back in the 90’s. Miss those chat rooms.

  8. casey Says:

    Ya in the 90s it rocked got AOL after 2.5 went to 3.0 and you were not charged by the hour. AOL 2.5 was like getting a hooker then paying for a room by the hour. At least with a hooker you knew you were going to get laid. Besides being fucked when you got your bill and you realized you were not signed off. After 3.0 it was on. i was online in the chat rooms progging and the oreo prog was the shit. then in the late 90s early 2000s there was yahoo chat. with the booters and the chat room drama and chat basically fuck parties. Wonder how many baster kids were made from those. You knew you had been in when you were back online and away from the huge orgy party the few days before.Some where to afraid to say who they had slept with and you were off on the side chat with them and you were fighting getting booted from the girls bf that you fucked the few days before. that was this guru of programming. so you down loaded this 3rd party chat program so you would not get booted called some cool name that you just deleted a few weeks back because you forgot it was still on your system. Oh the night of staying up late just to watcha chick on cam playing with her cooch because you talked her into it , as her husband slept a few feet away or in the next room while she was in the office. oh the memories…good time good time..

  9. Haxx77 Says:

    Back on AOL in the mid-late 90’s chat was booming because AOL sent a CD to every house in the nation up until the early 2000’s not to mentions every new computer came with 3-6 free months. Local chats were awsome if you lived in a populated area. I remember one Xmas party where we had almost 90 people from AOL show up at a small bar. What a party that was. There were several local scenes at area bars created by AOL chat rooms alone, this went on for about 8 years from 96-2004 in my area. Yahoo chat rooms were decent during those times also but not as packed. The first chat room I ever tried was in the mid 80’s on Compuserve. They modeled thier rooms after the CB Radio wich was still big back then. My opinion on why chats died is this. First, we got bored of seeing the same 15 people in a 23 slot chat room every single night. You met half of them and were not impressed. Second, Bots were huge in killing off chat rooms. Once it wasn’t fun anymore you started to look elsewhere for interaction. Thirdly, Age differences. You would chat for 20 minutes with someone only to find out they were 12 years old or 25 years older than you. Fourth, Cell phones an dtexting got big and made people less likely to sit and chat. Lastly, Myspace was where all the chatter went at first. that went on for year Then Facebook and Twitter. I Enjoyed chatting for years, weather or not it ever comes back who knows. I doubt most of us would go back to it.

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