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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.
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.
A 1993 Associated Press story even describes how then-President Bill Clinton was considering holding a town hall on AOL.
His screen name was “Clinton Pz.”Clinton’s team of “young, high-tech specialists” were “pondering new ways of communicating directly with Americans,” reported the AP.
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.
“I have to imagine moderating spaces online in 2017. It was more often you had to remind people what the values and norms of the room were.”Schober recalls that at AOL’s peak, AOL would sometimes gain over 70,000 users a day, causing chatroom communities to rapidly evolve.
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.
While her children don’t use AOL anymore, she’s kept it up.
Her favorite room is “Garden Chat,” where she trades tips on how to grow vegetables and flowers.
ike Riccardi would spend hours in chatrooms hosted by America Online as a teenager.