Imagine if you could choose from thousands of rooms, each of which contained people who shared a common interest. Would you like to talk about gardening? Cats? Auto repair? Politics? The Internet provides you with just that choice. A chatroom lets you type in whatever you want to say, and it will be seen by everyone else in the room. You can also see what their responses are. Chatrooms are frequently monitored by an overseer who can remove obnoxious or annoying residents. Some websites will have chatrooms available where you can chat directly over the Web, but for the full assortment of rooms you'll need additional software. Use your favorite search engine to look for I-R-C programs. That stands for Internet Relay Chat. Most of these will be shareware, so you can try them out for a month or so before deciding whether or not you like them. Download a chat program and install it according to instructions. Now, you're ready to chat. You'll be given a large list of rooms to choose from. When you're first starting out, look for rooms that have 'newbie' in their names. There, you'll find people who will help you learn the do's and don'ts of Internet chat. Before long, you'll be chatting like a pro! Another form of chatting is through a program that runs simultaneously with your browser. A-O-L's Instant Messenger is one of these, and another one called I-C-Q is also popular. Instant Messenger comes with the latest versions of Netscape, and I-C-Q can be downloaded for free. With these programs, you can add Internet friends to your list of chat contacts and talk together whenever both of you are on-line.
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