by Colleen Butler
In what resembles a scene from a sci-fi movie, people are chatting
and dating in virtual rooms across the world. Chat rooms are
everywhere and offer something for everyone.
Before embarking on your chat adventure, you should familiarize
yourself with the concept of chat. Chat is quite different from
email: it takes place in real-time. Once you type a message,
everyone in the chat session views your words almost instantly.
Chatting in real-time enhances the chat experience by creating a
You must have Internet access to chat. Online service providers
offer a variety of services such as newsgroups, bulletin boards,
and chats. Just click on the chat icon to get started.
When choosing your username or anonymous handle, use anonymity
to your benefit and select a name that reflects your
For safety purposes, never reveal your real name, location, or
There are two types of chat: group and private. Group chats are
virtual rooms filled with people hosting various discussions at
the same time. Private chats are virtual rooms created by users
who wish to host their chats in a more intimate setting. Both
are public forums.
To create a comfortable environment and enhance your chatting
experience, familiarize yourself with chat guidelines,
etiquette, or tips.
Before you begin to chat, take a moment to view the
conversations and get a feel for the atmosphere in the room.
Introduce yourself and greet everyone in the room. A simple
"Hello Everyone" is a great way to start.
Improving Chat Skills
Chat environments offer lively and entertaining exchanges for
everyone who participates. Like anything else, chatting requires a
little time and practice to fully enjoy the experience.
Locate the chat schedule and discover what type of chatting
activities are available. Most chat schedules are filled with
celebrity hosts and offer a variety of topics.
Moderated chat: Celebrity chats are an exciting way to learn the
latest information or hobnob with the stars. Because they tend
to draw a crowd, a moderated forum is used. Simply submit your
question and a moderator will forward your question to the host.
If your question is accepted, the host will reply.
Always keep on topic when attending a celebrity chat.
Be aware of the impression you make in a chat room. Sarcasm and
well-intentioned criticisms lose their place in the chat
Don't gossip. It seldom casts a flattering light upon you.
Use chat rooms and tools to your advantage. "Ignore" anyone who
Expression is an important part of chat. Familiarize yourself
with emoticons and other chat expressions to look and feel like
Once you become comfortable with chatting, you will encounter new
people and create friendships. Together, you will forge a community
of individuals based on shared interests and life experience. To
enhance your community experience I recommend the following:
Select a certain day, time, and chat room to meet your friends
Once you establish a group forum, vary the location of your
meetings to allow others to participate.
Host your own chat events.
Create a friendly list serve or newsletter to remind your
community members of any new information.
Realize that trust and commitment are key components to any
community and that they both take time to develop.
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