I used to participate in chat rooms a lot, especially in the early years of the internet. One location I ended up spending the majority of my time was TalkCity. It is now basically defunct, they have forums, but it is nothing like it was back then. In fact you could make money working for TalkCity, chatting. It’s too bad the market didn’t support it. Today I’m sharing an insight into that business via a booklet they sent me.
Anyone who worked for TalkCity had handles with TCC or CCC in them. You began as a TCC and didn’t have a lot of responsibilities but basically the police for the chat room. I don’t recall my TCC name but I do remember I was CCCorazon. I’m not Spanish or Mexican but liked the sound of the word (means “heart”). If you worked for TalkCity you received the booklet, as well some other goodies of which I only have this and a bumper sticker. The rest of the booklet is in the gallery below. It is interesting to see who TalkCity worked on behalf of. Keep in mind this was the days before Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The internet was quite different then, circa 1998 to 2004.
I do not recall much of the things I worked on, except one. It was an afternoon talk show for Roseanne. Most may not remember she had a talk show, it lasted 2 years. She integrated chat into the program. I got to work that a couple of times and it was pretty easy-going. I did a couple of other events (not Roseanne) that were much more challenging since some people were there to make trouble. You had to be good at contacting people quickly and/or giving them the boot. For TalkCity though we rarely kicked anyone out, more so they were “gagged”. It make it so they could still be there enjoying things, but no one would see their chat.
Besides hosting, I also spent most of my time in trivia rooms (a bot ran the game, fastest typist won) and/or streaming my music collection to whoever might listen. A handful of my friends on Facebook I met through TalkCity. I wish I had retained contact with more of them, but since we used nicknames, some I never learned their real names. We had traded emails and originally were on IM networks, but once the chat rooms shut down, or people tired of them, we lost that connection.
Nothing else has come around to improve text chat as a communication tool. Sure we didn’t have audio, images or video (by default within the application but possible) like Google+, Facebook or Twitter ; but it sure was a fun gathering place. It was more social in those days and not as commercial than what is available to replace it. Chat still exists, but I’m glad I was able to participate when it was in its prime. Perhaps one day it will have a revival (some say it has never gone away) but fit more for this day and age of images, audio and even video.