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The rooms had become a favored hangout not only of teenagers and technophiles, but of stay-at-home moms. ” one frequent chat-er joked in 1996.) And companies that had previously eschewed their own stand-alone chat services, such as Yahoo and MSN, were beginning to offer their own.In some ways, in fact, chatrooms were experiencing a cultural shift similar to one much-discussed on Facebook today: a space that was once a frontier, was being standardized, monetized — colonized by moms.) it seems to lack that critical quality that made early AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN fun: the edge of quirkiness, transgression and inventiveness.The feeling that this was a new and semi-lawless space, that unexpected things could happen.Just look at the earliest, successful forerunner to online chat — a program that academics invented, almost by accident, long before the birth of the World Wide Web.Talkomatic, the program’s appropriately retro name, was born out of PLATO, a computer-based education program at the University of Illinois, in 1973.Yahoo Messenger axed its public chat rooms in 2012, explaining only that they weren’t a “core Yahoo!product.” And when MSN Messenger shuts down Friday in China, the last place where the service still operated, it will mark the conclusive end of the mainstream chatroom era.

And like other modern attempts to reincarnate the ‘90s chat room (Airtime, anyone?In 2003, MSN axed many of its chatrooms across Europe, Asia and Latin America.Over the course of the next decade, in light of plummeting usage, increased scrutiny over child solicitation and other unpleasantness, and competition from mobile and video chat, AOL and Yahoo would do the same. , we aspire to make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining,” chirped Yahoo! “Sometimes, this means we have to make tough decisions — like closing down features that we feel aren’t adding enough value for you.” In other words, the market had spoken: The time of the chatroom had passed.(His screenname was “Clinton Pz.”) By 1997, the year AOL launched Instant Messenger as a stand-alone chat product, the company boasted an estimated 19,000 chatrooms.Users spent more than a million hours chatting each day.

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  1. I appreciate her reminding me that I need to be sure to pay attention to how these guys interact with each other. She also tells me that I need to keep my ears open to who asks questions about me and takes a real interest in getting to know who I am.