Online chat rooms are the online forums, on which people can chat online (which mean they broadcast messages to other people in real time). Sometimes online chat rooms are moderated by limiting those who are allowed to speak (which is uncommon). Sometimes, volunteer moderators patrol online chat rooms to prevent disruptive and in any different way undesirable behavior from the users.
Among chat programs the most acknowledged are the Internet Relay Chat (IRC, where chat rooms are referred to as channels), Jabber and various systems based on the Java and Microsoft Windows platforms.
Various online chat rooms go far beyond plainly text messages, including 3D and 2D graphics and avatars (this can be done with the help of the live chat software and such online chat rooms are usually referred to as virtual chats of visual chats). The Palace and The Manor are the two examples of 2D chat. These websites incorporate additional features such as educational material and games, which are mostly often developed by the owners of the service, who are usually more advanced than most of the online chat rooms members.
Some online chat rooms resources also include video and audio communication. People can watch and hear each other on such services. However, such chat rooms require good broadband connection to keep running.
Online chat rooms are very often confused with the so-called discussion groups (this is usual for the popular media). The main difference is that chatting in discussion groups does not take place in real time, and is usually based on the general Internet network technologies.
In the recent period of time the instant messaging technology started to merge with online chatting, as the most popular instant messaging providers (Yahoo, AOL and MSN) have installed the chat rooms into their instant messengers interface. This tendency of centralization is likely to take over the chatting world as the biggest providers begin merging their services and initialize cooperation of their protocols.
Chatroom Blues was the first novel to study the phenomenon of online chatting. This work was written by Sunil R. Nair, who is the India-based novelist. This experimental piece of fiction was published by PrintReach Publications. The book talks about the dark features of those who visit online chat rooms to express their real nature, using the advantage of the chat room anonymity. The main character of the book, named Manav, is an unsuccessful writer who joins online chat rooms to meet completely different people - blind men, cold-blooded murderers, fifteen-year-old girls, housewives etc. This is one of the first fiction works to depict the minds of those who lead dual lives - one running in the real world and one in the cyberspace.
Online chat rooms are a great way to spend time talking to different people, expressing your views and just having fun. Respect other members, be polite, don't offend people, don't swear and you will soon become a respected member of the online chat community you have chosen to communicate with.