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A Beginner's Guide to Chatting On The Net

Items Covered in this document

Download And Install A Chat Client
How to Be a Great Chat Host
Welcome all who enter
Be inclusive
Keep the conversation flowing
Keep things on-topic
Get Feedback
Building Your Chat
Building Community
Basic Chat Netiquette
A few basic rules

Download And Install A Chat Client:

Anyone can start up a chat room on any chat client. I use Yahoo Messenger for my chat client (Messenger 5.5 is the latest version as at 14-09-02). You can download Yahoo Messenger by clicking here. After you have downloaded Yahoo Messenger and installed it on your computer (it is simple to install on to your computer, just follow the instructions). Tell all your friends that they can get you on Yahoo Messenger, and get them to download it as well and then you will be able to type to each other, chat in voice mode with each other or you can even see each other if you both have web cams. You can make up your own unique ID and password when you sign up with Yahoo Messenger for the first time and then you can make a personal profile of yourself for others to see. (Important! Make sure you right it down). If you click here you can see what my Yahoo Messenger profile looks like.

Section 1: How to Be a Great Chat Host

A good chat host (host is a person who makes up a chat room themselves) is like a good party host. Your objective is to keep the conversation flowing, ensure all who attend feel welcome and included and handle any difficulties that may occur. You’ll greet all that enter, attempt to draw the shyer guests into the conversation and try to keep things moving along. Sound like a big job? Well, it is, but the following handy tips will help you on your way.

Welcome all who enter:
When a new guest enters your chat room, welcome them by name. Users are more likely to stick around if they know you’ve noticed them and are happy they are there.

Be inclusive:
Try to involve all of your guests in the conversation. A simple “what do you think, ‘SusanA’?” will go a long way towards getting a silent guest talking. Remember: guests that participate are more likely to return and to recommend your chat to others. Of course, if a guest indicates they’d prefer to just listen, you should respect that.

Keep the conversation flowing:
Try to smooth over any lulls in the conversations by asking questions or introducing new thoughts or topics. Keeping a list of good questions, thoughts, topics and ideas handy during a chat will make it easy to fill in any needed holes.

Keep things on-topic:
When a chat room is crowded, it’s not unusual to see several conversations going on at the same time. This is great in casual chat but this sort of cacophony can wreak havoc on a topical discussion. If you are leading a chat on a specific topic, rein in off-topic chatters with reminders of the topic or suggest they use PM’s to continue their own conversation without disrupting your chat.

Get Feedback:
Give your guests and regulars the opportunity to suggest topics and tips. If you’re responsive, they’ll be responsive.

Building Your Chat

Now that you know what to with your guests once they’re in your chat, just how do you get them there in the first place? The following easy steps will help get the ball rolling.

Invite everyone you see in chat. Don’t barrage chatters, of course, and don’t interrupt another host’s chat but during open chat in your guidesite, be sure to let others know about your chat, including day and time. It’s especially effective if you happen to see people talking about your specific topic.

Encourage word-of-mouth buzz. Near the end of each chat, encourage your guests to come back next time and bring a friend or two. If they had a good time, they’ll be sure to spread the word.

Building Community

Always make a point to encourage your guests to take advantage of other community areas such as forums or newsletters. The more involved in the community our users become, the more likely they are to keep returning. In addition, if you happen to notice any stand-out chatters---guests that seem to have a passion for the topic and the personality to make a good host, encourage them. Many will feel flattered your attention and only need a little encouragement to get further involved.

Section 2: Basic Chat Netiquette

Chat, like any other social interaction, has it’s own set of basic rules and codes of conduct. On the web, these rules of play are known fondly as “netiquette”. Naturally, you should always follow the code set down by your guide---he or she will know what’s best for their particular community. It goes without saying that these codes will vary wildly. What might work and work well in an erotica chat isn’t going to fly in KidsExchange. My advice would be, "stay away from the erotica rooms anyway" ;o)

A few basic rules:

Do not impersonate others. No unsolicited advertising. Don't go to chat rooms to sell your products or services. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. On the web, this is considered shouting. It can be annoying to other users and hard to read, people just won’t like you doing it. Don’t “scroll” the room. In other words, don’t enter lots of text or ascii art that will cause the chat to scroll by so fast no one else can participate. Don’t Flame. It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to attack, harass or defame others. Attack the message, NOT the messenger.

Do not harass, threaten, embarrass or otherwise cause distress to others.

By the way! Here are a few faces that you can use in chat rooms, it brightens up a room, I rekon.


Basic Positive Emotions:

lol     laugh out loud
btw     by the way
ASL     What is your Age, Sex, Location
:-)     a standard smiley face
:->     alternate mouth
:^)     alternate nose...
(:-)     smiley big-face
):-)     smiley big-face
:-D     said with a smile
8-|     eyes wide with surprise
:-o     wow!
:-v     speaking
:-,     smirk
|-)     laughing
|-D     laughing
:-P     tongue hanging out in anticipation
M:-)     saluting (symbol of respect)
$-)     just won the lottery or winning big at Las Vegas

Kiss, Kiss!

P-)     getting fresh
;-)     getting fresh (2)
:-x     kiss kiss
:-X     a big wet kiss!
(:-*     kiss...

Wink, Wink...

;-)     wink (take this message with a grain of salt)
,-}     wry and winking
:-7     after a wry statement
9-)     wink, left
6-)     wink, right

Basic Non-Committal Emotions:

:-\     undecided
:-i     semi-smiley
:-/     lefty undecided smiley
|-)     asleep (boredom)
:-I     puzzled
:-T     keeping a straight face
{}     a 'no comment' message
:-#     submitter's lips are sealed
:-x     "my lips are sealed" smiley
:-P     has a secret to tell you
:-Y     a quiet aside
M-),:X),:-M     sees no evil, hears no evil, speaks no evil

Basic Unhappiness:

:-(     yer standard frowning face
):-(     unsmiley big-face
:-O     worried
:-o     shocked
:-C     just totally unbelieving
:-V     shout
:-[     pouting
&.(..     crying
---...---     S.O.S
:-w     speak with forked tongue
:-r     sticking tongue out
&-|     tearful
:-c     real unhappy
:-|     grim
:-P     sticking out tongue (symbol of disrespect)
:-o     shocked
:-(O)     yelling
:~(     has had his nose put out of joint
:-@     screaming
:-*     oops!
:-c     bummed out
:-e     disappointed
(:-(     unsmiley frowning
:-8(     condescending stare
(:-#     message concerning something that shouldnt have been said...
:-d     lefty smiley razzing you
(:-\     VERY sad...
(:-...     heart-breaking message...
:-t     cross


(:-&     angry...
:-8(     has condescending stare
:-@     extremely angry
:-||     anger
|-O     bored by the article that you submitted
>:-(     sick and tired of reading this nonsense
~:-(     particularly angry
:-]     expressing biting sarcasm
:-[     expressing biting criticism


(:-$     ill...
:-(*)     sick and is about to vomit
:-(     has read too many 'smiley' articles
:-{~     read too many toilet paper articles before lunch
:-'|     has a cold
:-R     has the flu
%')     just finished a fifth of lunch

Overwork/Overparty Emotions:

:*)     drunk
:-&     tongue-tied
#-)     partied all night
8-O     has taken too many nodoz to work on thesis
|-(     late night messages
%-)     has been staring at the terminal for 36 hours
:-*     just ate a sour pickle

Personality Traits:

|:-|     excessively rigid
(:I     egghead
=:-)     a hosehead
O:-)     face with halo- acting very innocent
:-[     un-smiley blockhead
:-]     blockhead
I:-)     blockhead
*8=(:     blubbering idiot
:-D     talks too much
(:-D     blabber mouth
:-% talking out of both sides of mouth


Facial Hair of All Varieties:

(:-)     bald
|:-)     has heavy eyebrows
:-}     has beard
:-%     has beard
:-)}     has goatee/beard
:-@     beard has permanent wave *or* was drawn by Picasso
(:-{~     a message from a person with a beard
:-{     has mustache
:-{)     has moustache
:-#|     bushy mustache
:-=)     older smiley with mustache
%-)     with long bangs
(-)     needing a haircut
{:-)     hair parted in the middle
}:-)     above in an updraft
&:-)     message from a person with curly hair
@:-)     message from a person with wavy hair
{:-)     has new hair style
{:-{)}     has new hair style, mustache and beard
-:-)     sports a mohawk and admires Mr. T
=:-)     long hair
3:-)     curly hair
[:-)     flattop
#:-)     crewcut
?:-)     wavy hair, parted on right
*:-)     electric hair
{(:-)     wearing toupee
}(:-(     wearing toupee in wind
{{-}}}     a refugee from the '60's

Clothing, Glasses, Etc:

(:-|K-     formal message
:-)8     well dressed
:-X     has bow tie
g-)     ponce-nez glasses
::-)     wears glasses
(8-)     message from a person wearing glasses...
8-)     wears glasses
B-)     wears horn-rims
8:-)     wears glasses on forehead
%-)     message about people with broken glasses
R-)     has broken glasses
8-)     wears glasses
B-)     wears sunglasses
B-|     wearing cheap sunglasses
%-)     crossed-eyed
'-)     only has a left eye, which is closed
.-]     one-eyed smilely
.-)     has one eye
?-(     about people with a black eye
':-)     shaved off one of his eyebrows this morning
@:I     wears turban
\:-)     wears a french hat
d:-)     baseball player (hat on sideways)
+(:-)     propeller beanie
[:-)     listening to walkman thingy


:-v     talking head
:-$     face with it's mouth wired shut
:-9     licking it's lips
:-B     drooling
:-)'     tends to drool
:-6     after eating something sour
:-*     after eating something bitter
:-q     trying to touch its tongue to its nose
:-a     lefty smilely touching tongue to nose
:-o     singing national anthem
:-7     talks out of side of mouth
:-{}     wears lipstick
:-#     has been punched in the mouth
:-b     left-pointing tongue smiley
:-"     pursing lips
:-(=)     message about people with big teeth
:-#     has braces
:-{#}     messages teasing people about their braces
:-E     has major dental problems


:-G-     smokes cigarettes
:-Q     smoker
:-p~     smokes heavily
:-d~     smokes heavily
:-)     pipe smoker
:-?     smilely smoking a pipe
:-Z     tobacco chewer
:-7     tobacco chewer, getting ready to spit
:-`     spitting out chewing tobacco


:~)     has ugly nose (needs nose job)
:u)     funny-looking left nose
:>)     has big nose
:n)     funny-looking right nose
:~)     pointy nose (righty)
:v)     left-pointing nose
:^|     broken nose
(:^(     message concerning people with broken noses
:^)     messages teasing people about their noses
(:+)     has a big nose...
:=)     has two noses
:%)%     has acne

Other Appearance:

:-)))     very overweight and smiling
~:o     baby
:-:     mutant
[:-]     a message concerning a square head
:>     midget
    invisible man
C:-)     has large brain capacity
%-~     painted by Picasso

Hobbies & Occupations:

:-0     orator
8-)     swimmer
:-%     banker
*(H-)     downhill skier
=:-)     punk-rocker
=:-#}     punk with a mustache....
>B=)     punk rocker
=:-(     (real punk rockers don't smile)
(:)-)     scuba diver
0-)     wearing scuba mask
8=:-)     a chef
0-)     an arc-welder
(o:v)     coal miner
O:v)>--o     doctor
CD:-)>     railroad engineer
:-)W:-)     barber

At The Zoo:

:= |     baboon
:=8)     baboon
d8=     eager beaver
pq`#'     bull
~M`'~     camel
__Q~`__     cat
)     the Cheshire cat
3:-o     cow
pp#     cow
6\/)     the elephant submitter
}.     elephant
8)     frog
B)     frog who is wearing sunglasses
8P     bullfrog and it's mating season
:-[ ]     shark (jaws of doom)
8:]     gorilla
:8)     pig
::)     pig
3:*>     Rudolph the reindeer
|)     salamander
~~~~~8}     snake
:V     woodpecker

Famous People:

B-)     Batman
C=:-)     The Galloping Gourmet
8=:-K     The Sweedish Chef
:-o     Mr. Bill
#:o+=     Betty Boop
>:*)     Bozo the Clown
*:o)     Bozo the Clown
*:O)     Bozo the Clown
:-)))     William Conrad
>>-O->     Gen. Custer
:/7)     Cyrano de Bergerac
{8<>     Daffy Duck
]:-)     The Devil
8(:-)     Walt Disney
7:-)     Fred Flintstone
[8-]     Frankenstein

I'm only playing! The idea is to just have a lot of fun.

---- Rookie

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