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Years ago when AOL was still popular they had hundreds of them, and I remember when Yahoo began their chat rooms.

Have talk boards like this and similar forums done away with chat rooms?

ike Riccardi would spend hours in chatrooms hosted by America Online as a teenager.

When he heard the sound of a door creeping open ring from the speakers of his desktop computer, he’d perk up because the sound meant a friend was online, and they were free to chat.

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.

“It was a different time, because in the ‘90s, no one gave their real personal information on the internet,” says the now 35-year-old web developer.

“It was really cool, because even if your parents were in the next room, they couldn’t hear what you were talking about because you’re typing on your keyboard.”At AOL’s peak, more than 100 million AOL screen names existed, and users spent over a million hours chatting a year.

Of course, celebrities were involved in this new way to connect with the fans.

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.

Today, many chatrooms seem to have only one person loitering inside.

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