All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know.” (MORE: Chatroulette 2.0?

Napster Founders Launch Airtime Video Chat) So far, Airtime hasn’t exactly been a hit.

AOL’s walled garden was officially dismantled in 2006.

Chat rooms were available to AIM users until 2010, when AOL announced, “Since usage of AIM Chat has declined significantly in recent months, our focus has moved to other products.” Today, chat services such as Facebook Messenger and Google Talk (a.k.a. “I don’t think people have necessarily stopped using them — there are just different ways of expressing the same concept now,” says Schober.

Apparently people don’t feel constrained by interacting with the people they know — they feel comforted by it.

But what, exactly, happen to the chat rooms Parker so fondly remembers?

Then, in 1996, America Online opened the floodgates by introducing a monthly flat rate instead of charging by the hour.

For .95 a month, users could now linger in chat rooms for as long as they wanted.

The late ’90s, according to Schober, was when chat rooms hit their peak.

Just how powerful was America Online during this time? This is the era that many people, myself included, remember most vividly.

Windows 3.1 was released, making personal computers both more affordable and easier to use.

And, despite our memories of the slow-dialing modems of the ’90s, connecting to the World Wide Web was faster than ever at the time.

Schober moved from beta tester to full-time employee in 1992, when the service — now officially called America Online — went public.