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Website Planning

Tips on creating a great website plan
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Interesting Facts

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Website Planning - Internet Chat

Internet chat is a popular way to communicate over the Internet.

Chat is several people engaged in online communication. Chat is like an online pub, club, conference, classroom, meeting, party line or customer service room.

Chat is a text based conferencing system.
1) Picking a name. When you "say" something in a chat room, your name precedes it. Names can be as straightforward as John or Jane, or more descriptive like truck-driver, hacker, or looking-4-love. Sometimes there is a profile associated with the name to help identify the chatters. But, of course, there is nothing to prevent anyone from creating a false persona. It is not uncommon for a male to assume a female persona, or a female to assume a male persona. The name "Teenage-girl" could really be a mischievous grandfather.

Being anonymous is one of the interesting parts of chat. It is supposedly common for assistants to take over for professors in online classroom chats and roommates to take over as students. No one would be the wiser.

It is also an equalizer, for no one can see race, age, physical characteristics, or clothing.

2) The Chat room. A chat system will usually have many "chat rooms". Chat rooms are either public or private. Sample rooms might include the following

Public Rooms
Private Rooms
One can enter and leave a chat room at will. Some "roam" from one chat room to another.

3) In all cases, type to talk: read to listen. When you type, the whole room sees what you type. The text automatically scrolls up the page, and one must read quickly in a busy chat room. Some read every word and chat aggressively. Some just read quietly - they are sometimes called lurkers.

Some people as in real life come into the room and are obnoxious. There is usually an option to "ignore" someone completely.

It is very interesting to communicate with just words. There is no body language, no smile, no arched eyebrow, no inflection to help convey meaning, humor, emotions, or sarcasm. To compensate, chatters use emoticons, little symbols to show a smile :-) ... or a frown :-( ...or a wink ;-)... to try and help convey meaning behind the words. A list of emoticons.

Because people can chat in the rooms for a good while, abbreviations are common. There are chat dictionaries on the internet to help decipher terms such as lol and afk.

When website planning, consider a chat room. It is not a good idea to have an empty chat room, but published hours for a chat room for people to come and get information or help could be considered. Help can be provided through a chat room at given hours. Training sessions could be provided. Some vendors provide customer service chat rooms that are open to get help.

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