M ike Riccardi would spend hours in chatrooms hosted by America Online as a teenager. That was the s, and Riccardi was into grunge and metal music, video games, and computers. By , AOL had 19, chatrooms. Along with this product came the away message, buddy icons, a personal profile, and eventually voice chat, file transfer, and chat bots. Of course, celebrities were involved in this new way to connect with the fans. Now, some twenty years later, the once-vibrant chatroom communities of AOL have nearly disappeared, but they are still there … barely. Today, many chatrooms seem to have only one person loitering inside.
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