So it’s a Wednesday night, you just got off of work or school, ate dinner and changed, did your homework if you have to…now what do you want to do? You don’t feel like going out, you just want to kind of be lazy tonight. So you turn to your computer and a brilliant idea pops into your head: find an online chat room and talk about anything you can think of. Sounds easy, right? Not really. There are many things you have to search for when looking for online chat, and they can usually be specified if you type them into a search engine. Here are a few scenarios.
1. You’re a 15 year old who wants to talk to new people because your parents won’t let you go out. Great, at least you have a computer! Go to a search engine and type in some words that fit the chat you want. If you are interested in football, you could try “chats about football”. You can try this with just about any subject. There are things you have to look out for, though. Although a lot of chats have moderators or administrators to watch for rude or inappropriate remarks, some people still slip through them. Be aware of: anyone that wants to immediately talk to you in private online chat (there’s usually something they want to say to you that can’t be seen by others), someone who tries sending you pictures, someone that wants to set up a meeting with you (especially a red flag warning to walk away when you don’t even talk to the person).
2. You’re a college student and you have the weekend off to have fun. Well, would have fun if you had gotten the notes for your paper due next week. Great! On almost every college’s main website, they have a way to chat with your instructors (sometimes the instructors themselves set these chats up for homework help) or peers. Get your notes and any help you need for your paper within a half hour.
3. You have a product you bought from a store, and it’s not working. The instructions say to go to the company’s website, and get the toll free number to call. So you can call and be on hold for a half hour, listening to bad elevator music. As you are looking around for the number (since they always make it small so you have to see every other promotional ad on the page first) you see “Chat with an affiliate!” or “Have a personal session with a customer service representative!”, something like these. This will save you time and not frustrate you as much as the toll-free numbers will.
There are many scenarios in which online chat can be very exciting to you. But, there is a thing called “chatiquette” or “netiquette” where there’s actually guidelines and suggestions to follow when it comes to treating other people. Many people think today that since chat rooms are anonymous, they can do anything they want, regardless of consequences. Sadly, this includes being not so nice and ruining everyone else’s experience. Here are some things that are a definite no-no for chatiquette.
- Keeping your CAPS lock key on for regular conversation. It’s very annoying, shows there’s no intelligence behind the words, and it appears to be shouting.
- Provoking an argument or saying bad things about people
- Talking about something off topic in a certain “topic specific” type of chat
- Getting mad at someone because you’re in the wrong room, and they don’t want to do what you asked or said because it is the wrong room.
Yes, online chat can be serious, but it’s also worth the risk – it’s very fun! Good luck chatting!
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