Chatrooms are sections of a web site specially set up for users to communicate with each other, often in real time. Simply key in your lines of “chat” and send it over the Internet for people to read and respond to. Some chatrooms are moderated, which means that somebody is monitoring what is being sent. As long as you’re chatting via a web site, you don’t need any extra software to chat on-line. Be wary of registering your personal details unless you know who is behind the site.
Newsgroups are like bulletin boards where visitors can leave messages on a particular subject for others to see and respond to. There are thousands of newsgroups on the Net – it is one of the Internet’s oldest services – covering just about every aspect of life. They can be accessed using e-mail software such as Microsoft’s Outlook Express but you may find it easier to go to www.deja.com which lets you read and send messages from the site. This is a simpler introduction to the world of newsgroups than trying to configure software to access it.