We live in a technological paradise of sorts, so it might be hard to believe that some people do not know that online meeting places like Yahoo chat exists. I still do most of my communicating through more conventional methods. At least 75% of my "chatting" takes place either by phone or in person, with the other 25% occurring through e-mail. However, the idea of using Yahoo chat is intriguing to me. So, I decided to explore the possibility.
I started with the obvious question: what is a chat room? It is an online site that allows people who are on the site at the same time to send messages to each other in real time. I thought that chat rooms were the same as discussion groups and on-line forums. In fact, when I went to the Yahoo directory, I almost signed up for Yahoo groups before I discovered the chat category. Unlike chat rooms, discussion groups and online forums do not take place in real time. In other words, chatting with a friend online is truly like talking with a friend by phone.
Yahoo chat is really quite easy to join. You can go to Yahoo's homepage and locate the chat category in the directory. The instructions are simple to follow and Yahoo provides a number of tutorials. You can download either Chat 2.0 or Yahoo Messenger with voice to enter chat rooms. Downloading Messenger with voice to access chat rooms is not a bad idea because Messenger has a lot of cool features including the ability to make free PC-to-PC calls. With a microphone and speakers or a headset you can make a Yahoo call to anyone, anywhere.
Yahoo has created nearly 20 chat categories including business and finance, family and home, music, religion and beliefs, games, and romance. Each category contains a number of chat rooms. Yahoo previously offered user-created chat rooms, but they closed them to make improvements to the service. Controversy and outrage surrounded these chat rooms because some of them had disturbing names, contained offensive content, and could possibly place children and teens in danger.
Another issue with Yahoo chat is the lack of moderators to oversee the chat rooms. Unfortunately, some chatters make rude, insulting, and downright abusive comments. Yahoo does offer several mechanisms for dealing with such chatters including filing formal complaints. In addition to using Yahoo's protections, chatters should use common sense, intuition, and basic safety measures like the following to remain safe while chatting.
1. Keep in mind that everything you type can be viewed by others, so be careful of what you say and how you say it.
2. Chose a username that does not identify you in anyway (i.e., name, gender, location, etc.).
3. Do not reveal any personal information such as your name, address, and phone number.
4. Always save your chat room conversations.
5. Do not meet with people that you know solely through chat rooms.
Yahoo chat provides an online community in which people can make new friends, share common interests, and learn new things. Taking simple precautions make it possible to have positive Yahoo chat and Yahoo call experiences.