Online Chat

Online chatmay refer to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of text messages from sender to receiver.

Chat messages are generally short in order to enable other participants to respond quickly. Thereby, a feeling similar to a spoken conversation is created, which distinguishes chatting from other text-based online communication forms such as Internet forums and email.

Online chat may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers and voice and video chat, or may be a feature of a web conferencing service.

Online chat in a less stringent definition may be primarily any direct text-based or video-based (webcams), one-on-one chat or one-to-many group chat (formally also known as synchronous conferencing), using tools such as instant messengers, Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The expression online chat comes from the word chat which means "informal conversation". Online chat includes web-based applications that allow communication –often directly addressed, but anonymous between users in a multi-user environment. Web conferencing is a more specific online service that is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor.

History

The first online chat system was called Talkomatic, created by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley in 1974 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois. It offered several channels, each of which could accommodate up to five people, with messages appearing on all users' screens character-by-character as they were typed. Talkomatic was very popular among PLATO users into the mid-1980s.

The first dedicated online chat service that was widely available to the public was the CompuServe CB Simulator in 1980, created by CompuServe executive Alexander "Sandy" Trevor in Columbus, Ohio. Ancestors include network chat software such as UNIX "talk" used in the 1970s.

Chatiquette

The term chatiquette (chat etiquette) is a variation of netiquette (Internet etiquette) and describes basic rules of online communication. To avoid misunderstandings and to simplify the communication between users in a chat these conventions or guidelines have been created. Chatiquette varies from community to community, generally describing basic courtesy; it introduces new user into the community and the associated network culture. As an example, it is considered rude to write only in upper case, because it appears as if the user is shouting.

The word chatiquette has been used in connection with various chat systems (e.g. Internet Relay Chat) since 1995.

Despite being virtual, chat can spill into the outside world. There can also be a strong sense of online identity leading to impression of subculture.

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