Reggie Fairchild, product manager for AOL 4.0, shared this little story on Quora: It worked. As a gawky kid entering high school, chat rooms were a haven from the awkwardness of real human interaction.I’d use them to discuss punk bands like Operation Ivy with other teenagers, to play the chat room-equivalent of , and talk to what I very much hoped were actual girls.The late ’90s, according to Schober, was when chat rooms hit their peak.Just how powerful was America Online during this time? This is the era that many people, myself included, remember most vividly.
Amid the hoopla of the launch — attended, for some reason, by Jimmy Fallon and Snoop Dogg — Parker told an anecdote about meeting his business partner, Shawn Fanning, 15 years ago in a chat room, saying, “There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet.
“The BBS world, it tended to be a one-line experience — you were the sole user of the service, you could send email, you could leave messages, but it wasn’t interactive in real-time in the same way.
So the experience of going into a chat room and getting a response a couple of seconds later from someone who was in the same chat room was just really cool.” Slowly, the service grew, expanding to support DOS and eventually Windows.
(MORE: AOL’s Thoroughly Modern AIM) Then in the 2000s, the rise of DSL and cable modems made paying AOL a monthly fee for Internet access seem increasingly unnecessary.
Friendster launched in 2002, Myspace in 2003 and Facebook in 2004.Then, in 1996, America Online opened the floodgates by introducing a monthly flat rate instead of charging by the hour.