Yahoo Chat: I Still Miss It!
September 19, 2017 7:17am CST
I'm not sure how many of you here might remember the old Yahoo chat rooms, but as I recall, they served as a lifeline for lots of lonely people, including myself. I discovered them in 2002 not long after losing two people very close to me to cancer. And as crude and impersonal as they were, they played a big role in saving me from what might otherwise have proven to be a much more difficult time. The chat groups were organized by state, with each state offering several different "rooms" for people to congregate in. Like during the CB (Citizens Band Radio) days, users created fake names, or handles, so they could remain anonymous. And like today's social network users, people knew about you only what you chose to reveal. Over time, companies and other individuals realized that the chat rooms could also be a vehicle for advertising, especially at the lower societal levels. What were known as Bots started popping up more and more, which were nothing more than fake identities plugged into a chat room and that could keep appearing automatically to display a message ad. That many of them were porn-related was no accident, as the Bot owners knew that some lonely people can be easy targets for just about anything sexual or worse. There eventually came a time when the Bots pretty much took over all the rooms, so Yahoo shut them all down. While there are still plenty of chat venues out there, I doubt that any of them has ever achieved the popularity that Yahoo's did. Imagine my surprise when I learned recently that one of my neighbors here had used those chat rooms back then, too! I happened to mention it in conversation one day, so we both got a good laugh out of that. And we both agreed that, despite the somewhat sordid reputation those chat rooms had, we'd both had a lot of fun there. Unlike today's social networking sites, most Yahoo chatters were complete strangers, getting up each day and greeting each other and then spending literally hours talking to everyone else in the "room." For some, it got pretty elaborate, and they even hosted Chat Parties at their homes. I never went that far with it, but preferred to keep it at the anonymous level. I have to wonder how many people I've come into contact in my life who might be old Yahoo Chat Room throwbacks. I suspect that, if I have run into any, they were probably not willing to admit it! Like anything else, it could be harmless fun or it could get out of hand very easily. Which is probably one of the reasons Yahoo shut it down: it didn't want to be responsible for helping society to collapse any further than it already had! (Public Domain Image)
10 people like this
• Paradise, California
When I first got online, I got hooked on a chatroom on msn. I was so sad when the rooms were dissolved. There used to be a group on yahoo where some of us would keep in touch, years ago. But now I have forgotten what the name of it even was. Probably couldn't even find it. But yes, the chatrooms were a great way to socialize if you were homebound.