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Monday, July 16, 2001
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Chat—Cool, hep & trendy
by Rishi Jain

ILLUSTRATION BY SANDEEP JOSHI MODERN means are making communication faster and easier. However, human desire is insatiable. E-mails made communication fast and now chat has made it faster, a kind of shortcut route to another person’s ID. In this age of computer technology, chat is fast emerging a new forum for holding discussions. Conversations are held on a variety of subjects.

How to choose a chat ID?

If you are a cricket fanatic or a die-hard basketball fan and are unsure of what to use for a name, be innovative. Creativity is the keyword. You can call yourself a ‘cool shot’ or ‘bunjy bingo’ or whatever you find catchy.

If you are interested in a particular subject try to find a subtle way of displaying your name. Only a select few who know what it deals with will actually realise what it means. Remember, creativity matters here.

Avoid a name that is rude, vile, and outright obnoxious. Other people who chat will automatically label you a pervert, especially if you are in a general chat area.

Refrain from doing this if you intend to chat for a long time. Else you will be ignored, considered a hazard, insulted out of the chat room or kicked out by the systems operators overlooking the place. More so because of the stringent cyber laws that are now in force in India.

Posting pictures on Net

After registering on a site, some Internet chat service providers give you the option of adding a picture next to your name. Like in Yahoo! Chat, you can put up your photograph in your profile so that others who chat can know what you look like. It is a kind of an identification.

It's pretty simple — just find a picture of appropriate size, something small. Remember this picture is going to represent you. But be careful. Instructions vary from site to site on how to post your picture next to your name. Always remember the whole address of the picture and you will definitely have to use the http://URL for it.

Striking the right chord

The next step is how to chat with others. Wishing everyone nicely is the best way to catch someone's attention. If that doesn't work usually it's best to address someone with a question. For example, ask someone: "What is your name?"

Most of the time you will catch someone's attention this way. Try not to yell by either typing in capitals or using text editing to increase the font size and write your message in bold type. In IRCs you can only type in all capitals. There is no text editing. It is another way of capturing the attention of others in the chat room, but it is considered rude. Don’t use it unless you are left with no other option except this. This is usually when despite you having said everything, everyone keeps on ignoring you.

Chat abbreviations

To cut down time on typing, many persons have started using abbreviations for various actions and phrases. Many of the abbreviations used in chat have become universal and a lot have become creatively humorous, courtesy the chat room regulars. The WBS chat book has a whole list compiled from various users from all over the globe! (See box)

You can use text editing to increase the size of your text to catch someone's attention. This can make your message bold, italics, or coloured. By doing this you make your messages personalised. Once again refer to any instructions a chat room has pertaining to text-editing use. As pointed out earlier, this usage, however, cannot be done in IRC chats. Only Caps lock can be used there to make your text larger.

Actions in chat

Another advantage a chat room provides is of virtual action. The format used to do it is like this: **your action here**.

The actions you do can vary from hugging an online friend or giving someone a cyber drink. You can also use the abbreviations previously mentioned.

When in IRC chats, there's the ‘/me’command to perform actions. Just type it in like this ‘: /me your action here,’ and it will print out your name and the action you just did.

If you want to use the Asterix technique instead in an IRC chat you can do that. It depends on the person's preference.

Post links and e-mail

If during a conversation someone happens to ask for your homepage or an e-mail address and you don't know how to post it, do not worry.

Considering most Internet chats are lenient with this, it's easy to post up an address. In most cases all you have to do in Internet chats is just type out the Web site address' URL, like this:


With e-mail addresses the format is a bit different:


In some Internet chats you may have to employ full HTML coding to post up a Web or mail link. Again you will have to refer to any instructions that the chat has on posting links

Cyber relations

‘Cyber love’ is a new concept. While chatting away you may come across someone with common interests. And after chatting with this person for some time you may get attracted to him or her. It just might be what we call cyber love.

A lot of persons have met their partners through computers. Why shouldn't you?

There are just a few things to follow and to keep an eye on. Considering that this relationship maybe over a long distance, the chances of meeting the other person are almost next to none. But don't let this stop you from keeping in contact with each other. Usually persons will be in contact through e-mail, regular mail and sometimes phone calls.

Just keep in mind however that things can happen in a chat just as they do outside. That could be cyber-cheating. Just as the term implies, cheating can happen on a computer just as in real life.

Cheating through computer is ridiculous yet, it happens. Just be careful when getting into a long distance relationship with someone. It may seem great at start but something might be lurking under the surface.

If you happen to get into a relationship online through a chat always be friendly toward the other person, unless they happen to do something that makes you upset. If that happens, better break off.

If you are looking for a relationship online, try a Singles chat. Don't go into a chat not truly meant for cyber love expecting to find the right person immediately. And finally if you happened to be dragged into a relationship that you weren't intending on getting involved with, be cordial toward the other person. There's nothing wrong about being friendly. Who knows how things shape up in future?

Defence and offence

On some occasion you will come across a person who may be crossed with you on something you said or maybe, simply out of snobbery. Usually this is the result of a disagreement on a particular subject.

Also there are a growing number of people who just go into chat rooms to annoy others. These persons will just pick someone out of the crowd and start insulting him for no apparent reason other than to make themselves look cool with a know- all attitude. Whether you purposely or inadvertently make some person irritable, you will need to know how to defend your comments or yourself against such persons and how to get back at them.

Most cyber fights consist of insulting the other person.

How you insult them and how you time the insult matters in embarrassing the other person?

First we will go into on how to defend yourself. Firing back is the normal thing to do, but not always. The best defence is to ignore the offending person.

Often this will prompt that person to continue ranting on how much of a sissy you are. But, it is an effective way of dealing with such persons.

Usually some Internet chats will have an Ignore box of where you can put someone's name and it will not post up their messages unless you say so.

Normally IRC chat room operators either kick the offender out of the room with a warning or ban them completely.

If you are just dealing with someone who is in disagreement over a comment of yours, you can pretty much remedy the situation cleanly by being polite and asking them why they disagree.

Now, if you are in the wrong over your comment then be cordial and apologise about what you said. These are two ways to effectively diffuse a potential ‘flame war’ between you and other people who chat over something very trivial.

To go on the offensive in a chat room is a bit different. You can use insults both as an offensive and a defensive screen. But pretty much it's more offending than anything else.

When dealing with a perpetrator or perpetrators it's a good thing to have a quick and a reflexive wit or a good sense of humor. Spur-of-the-moment insults will usually shut other persons up and at times they could be aggravating, making the whole situation even worse.

Another thing is to watch how they insult. Don't sink down to their level.

By matching what they are typing you're sending a message across that you are just as crude and vile as they are and don't have much of an imagination.

When you use wit and humour, other people will start laughing at the intended victim, especially if they are obnoxious in the beginning. This tactic will also get you backing from other people who chat against the offender. If you have to get nasty, get descriptive but don't use profane words. There are two more things to keep in mind.

One is that if you have a lot of online friends, reinforcements in flame wars or cyber-fights really helps especially if they know you personally online or in real life. And try to keep cyber fights and flame wars from spilling onto the e-mail. Things can get nasty when e-mail gets involved.

Common courtesies

There are common courtesies to follow for chat. Following them will make you cordial, polite, and a nice person. Some of those courtesies are as follows.

One, try not to spy on others you know in different chat rooms. If they mention that they will be engaged in private conversation with someone or another group, please respect their privacy. It's just like in real life when someone needs to talk to another person or persons in private.

Two, be kind to chat room newcomers. These persons usually are not sure of what to do and will be a bit unsure of what to say. Be friendly and welcome them into the chat room.

Three do not abuse your power if you are a chat room operator or a well-known regular. Just because you may know more than the others in the chat gives you no right to lord your intelligence or popularity over everyone else.

Four, try not to take up a lot of space for posting your messages. A lot of people who chat do not like scrolling down a lot just to see a few messages after yours. If you do have to type a long message to another person either send it private, if you can, or chop it up into bits. You have to be respectful of other people if you frequent a chat room regularly.

Chat is fun, especially if they involve a special topic you're interested in or if you're just looking for a nice conversation. Just remember how to behave while with them and you'll do just nicely. Many who have not behaved themselves have had other people who chat gang up on them and deal with them appropriately. Just remember to have fun, enjoy the discussions, and watch out for the ‘hot shots’!


Dictionary recognises SMS

GR8 news — txt MSGS r now in the COD.

Confused? Help is at hand. It means "Great news — text messages are now in the Concise Oxford Dictionary." In Britain alone, more than 1 million mobile phone text messages are sent every hour, so the Concise Oxford Dictionary has decided to include the shorthand language in its revised edition published last week.

SMS, or short messaging service, has been given its own appendix. The section features dozens of examples of the abbreviations that have become a second language to millions of young persons.

"We have been monitoring the phenomenal growth of text messaging with great attention: its influence is now such that we felt it was time to treat it as an integral part of English," said the dictionary's publishing manager, Judy Pearsall.

Examples that have found a place in the dictionary include BBLR (be back later) and HAND (have a nice day). They are joined by so-called emoticons — representations of facial expressions such as :-) and :-(.

The latest edition also includes new words judged to have entered everyday conversational use.

Minger, meaning "an unattractive or unpleasant person" makes an entry, along with chowhound, defined by the dictionary as "a greedy person," and tweenies, "children trying to appear older than they are." — Reuters


Common chat abbreviations





















































Away From Keyboard

As Soon As Possible


Be Back Soon

Big Evil Grin

Boy Friend

Be Right Back

Chuckle and Grin

See Ya

See You Later

Evil Grin

E-mail Message

Girl Friend

Great Minds Think Alike

Glad To See You

Hug and Kiss

Have A Good Night

I See

In My Humble Opinion

In My Opinion

In Real Life

Just My Opinion

Keep In Touch

Kiss On Cheek


Lord Help Me

Laughing Head Off

Laugh Out Loud

Long Time No See

Laughing To Self

Oh, I See

Off The Top of My Head

Private Message

Pardon Me For Jumping In

Put On A Happy Face

Has left the chat room.




Rolling On Floor Laughing

Read The Stupid Manual!

Slaps Head In Disgust

Screaming with Laughter

See You Soon

Thanks Again

Thinking Of You

Ta Ta For Now

Welcome Back

What/Who The Heck

You'll Be Sorry

Talk to you later

Talk to you soon