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Forums on the Apple II, Macintosh, PC, software development, and gaming were popular.
But as the PC exploded in popularity during the Clinton years, so did AOL.
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.
Now primarily a digital media company, AOL — it owns about them: the company refused to make anyone available for this story. But when she has about an hour, she’ll log on to chat.
She’s used chatrooms for the past 16 years, ever since her kids introduced her to AOL.
Frequent, longtime users — it seems to mostly be the elderly — who log on to chat about gardening have increasingly been met with trolls who start arguments about President Donald Trump.
And yes, there are people — unsure about Tinder — looking for love.
AOL was her first introduction to the internet, and on chatrooms, she spoke to a computer programmer for the first time. In exchange for being in the chatroom for certain hours and moderating, AOL would grant her free hours.Along with this product came the away message, buddy icons, a personal profile, and eventually voice chat, file transfer, and chat bots.“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.The most popular chatrooms on AOL today have names like Widows and Widowers, Garden Chat, and Sixties Plus.Also popular, a chatroom for Republicans, along with chatrooms called Beliefs Christian and Born Again.
“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.