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 1993 Associated Press story even describes how then-President Bill Clinton was considering holding a town hall on AOL.
To this day, Garden Chat appears to be one of the most active chatrooms on AOL.
But now the room is completely different.“We got invaded,” Bird tells ).
ike Riccardi would spend hours in chatrooms hosted by America Online as a teenager.
When he heard the sound of a door creeping open ring from the speakers of his desktop computer, he’d perk up because the sound meant a friend was online, and they were free to chat.
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.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.With AOL, users could get information from the White House and “even send the president electronic mail, known as e-mail, if they want.”Angelique Weger, a 36-year-old front-end developer, recalls using chatrooms in middle school.She would spend time roleplaying as a medieval sorceress on the Red Dragon Inn sci-fi/fantasy chatroom and meeting teens from across the country in Teen Chat.“I really liked the sense of just being represented and just being understood by my words,” Weger tells “There wasn’t any sort of physical representation of yourself.I just liked engaging people with my words and relationships.”Weger made many friends from these chatrooms, some of whom she has met and still keeps in touch with today.