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Chatting on the Net

Online chat is the Internet version of real-time communication.  Instant Messenger from AOL is an example of real-time chat.  Chat is much faster than the postal service, more interactive that e-mail, and much cheaper than long distance.  Immediate feedback and information with slight lag time is the norm.

There are several kinds of chat possibilities.

  • Group chat in chat rooms.  This is like a class discussion.  A group of people expressing opinions online at the same time.  Your read on screen what people are saying.  Your type your own comments and press return and read your thoughts on screen.
  • One-to-One.  Private conversation between you and another person.  Instant Messenger allows you to speak to the designated person.

Problems exist with chat rooms.  People often behave badly and have given chat experiences a bad name.  Chat rooms do log in information about users and if you have a bad experience report it.  The ISP that maintains the chat room can filter and deny the user who misbehaves from using the facility again.  Don't join into the bad behavior.  Instead of ending the bad behavior it is usually escalated and everyone has a bad experience.

The AOL Instant Messenger is now available to all computers.  This is available at and allows you to communicate instantly with other AOL users or users with the software installed on their computer.  The AIM (general program for none AOL users) is a no frills instant message service.

This page was updated on:  04/10/02