Online chat includes web-based applications that allow communication – often directly addressed, but anonymous between users in a multi-user environment.Web conferencing is a more specific online service, that is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor.

The first online chat system was called Talkomatic, created by Doug Brown and David R.

Woolley in 1973 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois.

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Allow them to message you like they message their friends and family—on their own time and terms.

It offered several channels, each of which could accommodate up to five people, with messages appearing on all users' screens character-by-character as they were typed.

Talkomatic was very popular among PLATO users into the mid-1980s.

With the increasing population of online chatrooms there has been a massive growth "as new electronic modes of communication provoke similar anxieties amongst critics who express concern that young people are at risk, endangered by a rising tide of information over which the traditional controls of print media and the guardians of knowledge have no control on it".

"that teenagers and young people are in the leading the movement of change as they take advantage of the possibilities of digital technology, drastically changing the face of literacy in a variety of media through their uses of mobile phone text messages, e-mails, web-pages and on-line chatrooms.

These conventions or guidelines have been created to avoid misunderstandings and to simplify the communication between users.

Chatiquette varies from community to community and generally describes basic courtesy.

With chatrooms replacing many face-to-face conversations, it is necessary to be able to have quick conversation as if the person were present, so many people learn to type as quickly as they would normally speak.