An online discussion forum for a particular topic via keyboard (see chat). Everyone who is logged in sees what everyone else is typing, although two people can decide to break off and have a private chat.|
Individual Chat Sessions
Chat rooms hosting general discussions often run continuously; however, chat sessions between two parties are often initiated as needed for customer service. If a Web site hosts a chat support line, it lets a user initiate a session and interact with a representative at the other end. However, that person is often helping several people, and responses are not usually immediate.
The Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
Chat rooms began in the late 1980s over the Internet and even earlier via the dial-up bulletin board (BBS). Today, a hundred or so channels in the original Internet Relay Chat (IRC) system continue while thousands remain idle (see IRC). See Internet forum, instant messaging, SMS and voice chat.