User-created sexual fantasy rooms are also popular.On Garden Chat, sometimes people still trade tips for gardening and cooking, messaging back and forth in different fonts, font weights, and colors.Users could also create private and public chatrooms and host scheduled events.Initially, mostly tech-minded people joined AOL chatrooms, since at the time, it wasn’t as common to own a home computer.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.
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.
At the pinnacle of AOL, the company had 35 million paying subscribers. When it was still called Quantum Computer Services, the company debuted chatrooms.“That was a huge focus of the service,” Joe Schober, who was a beta tester at Quantum Computing Services in the late 1980s and officially worked for AOL from 1992 to 2014, tells Regular chat rooms could hold up to 23 people.
“Auditorium” chatrooms could hold hundreds or thousands of users and had a moderator.
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.
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.