Instant Messaging or IM
Different programs and web sites
support text based online chat.
A chat room is hosted on a web site and allows people to send text messages to each other instantly so as to be able have a conversation without pause.
Some are also voice and video enabled. Usually Chat-rooms are categorized into groups such as a teen chat room or based on a particular subject that the members are all interested in.
There are general applications where the subject or mutual interest is not an issue and these are more popular. On these people can communicate instantly by text and in some cases with video. See the page on Skype or QQ.
Online chat is very popular with dating sites as well as AOL and Yahoo etc. web sites.
You can often load photo files to send as attachments.
The first online chat service was from Compuserve in 1980.
As chat developed some etiquette evolved.
One point being that to type in all caps was considered to be
SHOUTING at someone - quite rude. (Sorry I wanted to make the point)
Here are some of the most popular chat programs:
IRC was created in 1988, and it isn't one web site but a program that is used by many clients worldwide on many different platforms, and operating systems.
It functions on thousands of servers all over the world.
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