One of the most common
methods of finding people who share your interests online is through chat.
Chat is a fast-paced form of Internet discussion. When you chat on the
Internet, you enter a virtual
meeting place called a "chat room," where you "talk"
to others using your keyboard to type
It depends on the
type of chat you choose to participate in. In the chat rooms at some Web
sites, you need
only a Web browser, like Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Other that sites
require a browser plus a free browser plug-in or control that you can
download. For Internet
Relay Chat,you need to install a separate IRC program (also known as an
"IRC client") on
your computer. Visit the Chat Software page for descriptions of chat software.
The chat rooms
available through your Personal Start Page channel buttons require only
a browser to use.
Everything. If you
have an interest, chances are good that there's a Web site,IRC channel,
or other chat
area devoted specifically to it. Many chats,however, are purely social
and have no specified
topic. The quality, tone, and intelligence, of course, varies from site
to site and day to day.
You may need to spend some time to find the chat that's right for you.
Some chat areas on
the Net are moderated and are clearly marked as such.But many Web sites
Relay Chat channels are wide open and uncensored. Some of what you see
could be offensive
to you. For this reason, children should always have adult supervision
while chatting on
the Internet. Also, avoid revealing sensitive personal information (your
address, phone number,
etc.) in chat rooms.
IRC stands for Internet
Relay Chat, a system in which you log onto one of a number of special
(or "servers") on the Internet and join a chat channel devoted
to a topic that interests
Yahoo, MSN and ICQ are the some of the most prefered chat utilities around.
All of these
have a lot of good features where you can search for people in different
directories by specifying
words which could appear in the id, name or address of the person. All
in all they are pretty
good tools to have.