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Internet Basics: A Chat Room Is Like A Birthday Party

Have you ever been to a birthday party? Love them or hate them, birthday parties are something most of us have experienced at one point or another.

The invitations go out announcing that there is going to be a party in such and such an address. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. You can arrive early, late or leave in the middle. You can play with others, then go off on your own, then join later if you want. It’s all pretty free and easy, really.

This is what a chat room is like.

Someone lets you know that if you use your browser to go to a specific URL on the Web, you’re in a chat room. You may need a special invitation to enter, or know a special password, or it may be open to everyone.

You can participate any time you want and be as active or passive as you want. If there’s something you want to “say”, just type it in and press a button. Instantly everyone else in the chat room sees that you have “said” something (really they only see what you typed). They then respond by writing what they want to say. And just like that, the chat continues as fast as everyone can type and read.

And if you don’t like where the chat is going, you can pick up your keyboard and go home.

And that’s why a chat room is like a birthday party.


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