Chat sites are online venues that allow people on the Internet the ability to communicate using text. There are a wide variety of chat sites, but the central feature is the ability to interact with others often anonymously using handles and “avatars”.
Avatars are the online name chat site users pick that identifies them to others in the chat room, or forum, or app. Chat sites are as old as the Internet itself. Before the image-heavy Internet that eventually became known as the World Wide Web, text-based sites, Telnet, and bulletin boards provided people from around the world to share a space in the cyber world. While avatars and online handles are not always used, especially when chat sites provide a professional service for meetings, chat sites provide a multi-faceted way to interact socially online.
One of the distinctive aspects of chat sites is what is known as Private Messaging. These kinds of communications between chat site users involve the pre-designation of a message as something meant for only one recipient (or a specified few). Such Private Messages (PMs) enable the transfer of more private data, the acceleration of friendships, and allow a more sophisticated exchange of information that does not interrupt the collective public chat.
Chat sites have become so popular over the years that many software companies provide built-in messaging capability into their offerings. Millions of smart phone users use chat site features when utilizing these built-in messenger services. Sometimes instant messaging is platform specific and sometimes it works across platforms (although you may have to download a different app depending on whether you have an iPhone or Samsung).
Online games incorporating players from around the world have chat features. Console gaming that is now ever more linked with gamers in other cities provides ways to communicate with fellow rivals and teammates via text and voice.
Parents are generally advised to be vigilant about the kind of chatting children do, especially if a computer with Internet access is available in the child’s room. Online predators often use chat sites, and other online messenger services, to pose as fellow youngsters only to attempt to lure the children into a trap. These online predators attempt to hack into the child’s account, blackmail them after compromising some facet of their online activity, or some other method with the end result of having a secret relationship with underage users of the Internet. Catching these luring predators has been the focus of more than one episode of TV journalism.
On the other hand, you have to give credit where credit is due. Chat sites and other online options (such as Internet dating websites) can provide options for singles that are too busy to find someone through traditional means. This could be because the person is new to a city and doesn’t know anybody. It could mean the person does not live in a place that has a lot of other singles to choose from (because the number is low, because a desired characteristic is uncommon in that pool of potential partners). Online dating websites provide a top level of single classified ads that can lead to messaging and chatting with a favorite if one upgrades subscription to the website. The messages and online chatting could lead to dates and possible good news after that; conversely, chatting may reveal that the ad was good but this person is not the kind you would want to spend time with. Until committing to meet a potential date, the dating website’s chat feature often allows you to maintain a degree of anonymity (in the case you drop him or her from consideration). This saves a lot of time when considering the commuting to and from “getting to know you” sessions in real life or awkward phone introductions.
Any thoughts about chat sites must also mention typing speed. The more a person uses a chat site, the faster a person’s typing will get. Posts in online chat forums or messenger software are often impassioned. The typing is done quickly, but also common everyday words are repeatedly created so that a lot of the thinking during typing is absorbed by the muscle memory in the fingers.
Social media is just a sophisticated form of a chat site. Sometimes incorporating pictures, memes, videos, or audios, the ubiquitous nature of comments and sharing online has allowed the original text-based chat site to flower into many avenues of expression.
Some car dealerships, even, will have a customer service representative pop up in a chat window when a visitor visits the dealership’s website. The CSR handles the customer’s questions, or offers a hyperlink for more information, or checks something in real time at the actual location. Where formerly such exotic pop-up windows were state-of-the-art in the early days of the World Wide Web, contemporary websites provide these chatting windows as important extras to make websites truly interactive in order to appreciate every customer, whether in person or online.