I want to talk to people in real time. With text. On the internet.
May 31, 2015 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm a fan of the text chat. I used to be active on local dial-up systems, and later IRC. Then somewhere along the line, about two decades ago, I pretty much quit all of that and got caught up in real life. Well, I want to go back. Only it seems like all the people I'd want to talk to online are gone.

Basically this but add ten years.

I've tried various things on various websites. None of them worked out. There have been one or two interesting conversations but the signal to noise is always too low. Is there a secret text chat website I don't know about? Or do people just not real-time group text chat anymore? Or do they just stick to their smartphones and hold 11 independent one-on-one conversations?

Should I just start my own?
posted by ostranenie to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
What about MiFi Chat? Have you looked into IRC? There seem to be some technical communities, not sure if there is a crowd matching your interests. Try a moo?
posted by sammyo at 7:10 PM on May 31, 2015

Response by poster: Chat.metafilter.com is interesting but seems pretty much abandoned. Is there anything available on the web without installing more software?
posted by ostranenie at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2015

I've found some interesting folks to talk with through various open source projects. A lot of the larger ones have slack channels. Mostly technical, but not exclusively -- especially on projects that have tendrils into other places (for instance, an open source project working to decentralize law. Lawyers and crypto security types to talk with).

Just found this, too -- Chats.Directory
posted by elioat at 7:30 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

My suspicion is that you'll have more success if you pick a specific online community and then go looking for a chat room that serves that community.
posted by deathpanels at 7:34 PM on May 31, 2015

I used to hang out in chatrooms a lot - they don't exist anymore - and Twitter has filled that gap for me. You can have group DMs (direct messages). But - you pretty much already have to know people on there, you can't just find random people to chat with. Almost all the people I talk to on Twitter are from mefi or they're people I know in real life. (Often both at once!)
posted by desjardins at 7:43 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

FireChat was popular last year - maybe you could check it out?

I'm with you on this, it's an internet thing I love, and it's harder to find as the years pass.

MeFi Chat isn't abandoned though - I drop in maybe once or twice a month, and oneswellfoop above is like always in there + other regulars.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:52 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also - the "lobby" room in Cryptocat is generally occupied. A lot of chatting depends on who you want to talk to. Soulseek chat rooms can be good if you're trying to find some new ambient music recs for example.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:57 PM on May 31, 2015

IRC is still definitely a thing. Join a bunch of channels dedicated to subjects you're interested in. I usually find the places that have some sort of fig-leaf topic are the best at enduring rather than a general "hey let's chat on the Internet" thing.
posted by ODiV at 8:17 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm on a number of IRC channels right now. Freenode has channels on just about everything, and there are a number of smaller servers with tabletop RPG focuses. Twitch, the videogame streaming server runs a near-IRC server that you can connect to with any IRC client, and a number of channels there stay active even when people aren't streaming (For example #loadingreadyrun, which is a BC comedy group that has moved into video game streaming.)
posted by Canageek at 9:36 PM on May 31, 2015

I belong to a few different Slack teams (for Producthunt, for a local volunteering org, and for a bunch of developer-specific topics) and they have filled that gap for me. Perhaps you'll find a community on Chit Chats, a directory of Slack groups?
posted by third word on a random page at 3:34 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

I like to hang out on a few channels in Freenode. Even though there's less traffic there than on EsperNet, the signal/noise ratio is much more tolerable.
posted by surazal at 7:32 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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