Chat Room

Definition

A chat room is usually defined as a chat room and is is generally a term used to describe any form of large media, synchronous conferencing and maybe asynchronous conferencing. Chat room can also mean technologies which are real-time online chat mediums over another digital technology medium 'instant messaging', online forums and fully immersive graphical social environments. The communication usually involves two or more people.

Chat Room Use

The primary use of a chat room is to share information via text with a group of other users. Generally speaking, the ability to converse with multiple people in the same conversation differentiates chat rooms from instant messaging programs, which are more typically designed for one-to-one communication. The users in a particular chat room are generally connected via a shared interest or other similar connection, and chat rooms exist catering for a wide range of subjects. New technology has enabled the use of file sharing and webcams to be included in some programs. Games are also often played in chat rooms. A historic example is Hunt the Wumpus. Chatroom-based implementations of the party game Mafia also exist.

History

The first ever chat room was developed by a company called 'Talkomatic' founded by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley, 1974. The chat room was created on a 'PLATO' system within Illinois University, United States of America.

The original design mechanism made a number of chanels available within the chat room. All of the channels could take a maximum of five registered chat room users. The display of user messages on the 'PLATO' graphical user interface was elementary; character by character. It was proven that the Talkomatic chat room was a great success and very popular amongst all its 'PLATO' users registered within the mid-1980s. Another public chat room that evolved in this era, 1980 was the CB Simulator created by CompuServe's executive staff member named Sandy Trevor from Columbus in Ohio, United States of America[1].

Communication Style

The older style chat rooms were text based, only written text messages could be communicated through the communication medium in real time. Chat rooms found noww in the 21st century are more robust and can facilitate text based, voice, visual and graphical communication, users can see and hear each other if preferred. Chat rooms from big enterprises such as British Telecom, Yahoo, Google etc offer text and voce chat room facilities.

To add further, communication within chat room nowadays is very advanced. Users can add graphical representations in for example 3D format, add virtual reality pictures e.g. An 'Avatar' which is a self-created picture of the user created in www.doopleme.com. The Avatar adds some fun element to the chat room page display and gives an indication of the users characteristics instead of a real picture being used, although a real picture can be incorporated if a user wishes and the chat room software allows such downloading. The actual chat room can be modified in such a way that benefits the user and their use of the chat room. Many chat room environments enable users to become very involved and createive in order to build great chat room environments.

Code of Conduct

Users of chat rooms are expected to comply with a proper code of conduct rules in regards to behaviour and what they can actually write and display in a chat room. The chat room rules are published and users have to agree with them in order to maintain a decent and standard level of integrity and safety amongst participating chat room users. There are also legal considerations that the conduct covers in regards to children and other vulnerable subjects and issues. Generally, chat room rules rules do not allow users to engage, use or promote offensive amd obscene language and material; typing with the CAPS lock on is seen as 'Shouting' and when seen is stopped by the chat room staff member who is on duty monitoring the room and completing other tasks as required usually tasks such as monitoring the chat room to prevent users using disruptive, offensive and obscene language as described before about topics that are regarded as unethical or totally irrelevant to the chat room purpose due to legal and forbidden reasons.

Monitoring of Chat Room

Some chat rooms monitored set a limit as to who is allowed to speak, however this not really common anymore. Some comments are first approved by a moderator before the message is publisehed so that the company is happy the message complies with their publishing standards. or by having moderation volunteers patrol the venue watching for disruptive or otherwise undesirable behaviour. Some chat rooms do not let the users know that they are being monitored until it is absolute necessary to intervene on a user/s.

Language Preference

To benefit the user, some chat rooms offer language conversion for users that prefer to converse in a chat room in a language they are more comfortable in or English is not their first language.

References
1. CompuServe Innovator Resigns After 25 Years, The Columbus Dispatch, 11 May 1996, p. 2F
2. Wired and Inspired, The Columbus Dispatch (Business page), by Mike Pramik, 12 November 2000
3. RĂ©mi A. van Compernolle (2008). Nous versus on: Pronouns with first-person plural reference in synchronous French chat. Canadian
Journal of Applied Linguistics, 11(2)

External links

Look up chat room in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
http://www.wikipedia.co.uk. Accessed 5th March 2013
The Psychology of Cyberspace Hypertext book explaining the psychological aspects of online environments by Dr. John Suler, Rider University. Woolley, David R. (January 1994).
"PLATO: The Emergence of Online Community". Matrix News. http://thinkofit.com/plato/dwplato.htm. Retrieved March 16, 2012.

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