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Users could also create private and public chatrooms and host scheduled events.Initially, mostly tech-minded people joined AOL chatrooms, since at the time, it wasn’t as common to own a home computer.There was little trolling.“It wasn’t a troublesome space,” Weger says.

User-created sexual fantasy rooms are also popular.

On Garden Chat, sometimes people still trade tips for gardening and cooking, messaging back and forth in different fonts, font weights, and colors.

With AOL, users could get information from the White House and “even send the president electronic mail, known as e-mail, if they want.”Angelique Weger, a 36-year-old front-end developer, recalls using chatrooms in middle school.

She would spend time roleplaying as a medieval sorceress on the Red Dragon Inn sci-fi/fantasy chatroom and meeting teens from across the country in Teen Chat.“I really liked the sense of just being represented and just being understood by my words,” Weger tells “There wasn’t any sort of physical representation of yourself.

A press release from 1997 promotes a calendar of events that included an online chat with each of the Spice Girls and a downloadable audio greeting from Oprah Winfrey (in honor of Mother’s Day).

Others weren’t so impressed: “Any performance skills you have go out the window,” complained comedian Jay Leno in a 1995 Now, some twenty years later, the once-vibrant chatroom communities of AOL have nearly disappeared, but they are still there … About 1,500 people can be counted in all of AOL’s public chatrooms today, a number that in the ‘90s wouldn’t have even matched a large “auditorium”-style room where celebrities would hold court.

While her children don’t use AOL anymore, she’s kept it up.

Her favorite room is “Garden Chat,” where she trades tips on how to grow vegetables and flowers.

That was the 1990s, and Riccardi was into grunge and metal music, video games, and computers.

He’d chat about Nirvana, search for guitar tabs, trade shareware, and find opponents for . That year, AOL Instant Messenger launched, born out of the Buddy List feature in AOL.

But much of the time, the conversations are much more colorful — in that they’re splashed with expletives.“Lately my favorite room has gotten a bunch of pervert-nasty people,” Bird says.

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