In the early days of the Internet before there was text-messaging with cell phones or video-conferencing with Skype there were chat rooms. Most were set up so users could visit on a particular subject such as music or movies or pets or whatever. And the rooms were usually hosted by someone who "rode shotgun" to keep the chats friendly and civil.
However, if you knew the tricks, it was also possible to create your own chat room and invite others into it. In fact, "private" chat rooms became a popular means of getting personal with someone and possibly engaging in "cyber-sex."
I learned about this when I got involved with a writers forum in the late 90s. The authors got to know one another when they posted stories or poems and commented on items posted by others. I would comment almost exclusively on the writings of women, and soon had quite a collection of "cyber lady friends."
One evening the following message flashed on my screen:
Zeena has invited you into a private chat room will you accept?"
Well, Zeena was a fascinating person whom I had gotten to know through the forum, where we both had done quite a bit of posting.
"Why would she be asking me into a private chat room?" I wondered. Zeena and I had done a lot of IMing over the months, but we had never done the "private room" thing.
Anyway, I clicked OK and, to my surprise, found myself in a room with several other people known to both of us. In fact, everyone seemed to be there but Zeena.
Naturally, we all said hello and exchanged the usual pleasantries but finally began asking each other, "Where's Zeena and how come she invited us into this room?"
No one seemed to know.
Anyway, everyone got to chatting, and some even invited other friends into the room. I hung around for a while, then excused myself because I had work to do.
About an hour later a friend invited me back into the room to meet another friend and I stayed just long enough to realize that people were still asking where Zeena was and why had she started this chat room?
I heard later that the room lasted for about six hours with lots of different people coming and going everyone except Zeena.
Well, the next morning I spotted Zeena online and immediately IM'd her to ask why she'd invited all these people into a private room and then disappeared.
"Oh," she replied, "I heard about that. Several others have also asked where I was."
"But I didn't do it it was my kitty. She walked across my keyboard and accidentally started a chat room. I saw it come on, but had to leave just then. I had no idea anyone actually ended up going there."
Yep a true story a cat started a chat room that lasted for several hours and had nearly two dozen people in it at one time or another all wondering why they were there.
But the story becomes even more bizarre:
Zeena had been doing some online flirting and suspected her flirtee of doing some flirting on the side. The cat had actually invited Zeena's guy and the other woman into this chat room (well, it invited everyone on Zeena's Buddy List who was currently online) and they were going crazy wondering why Zeena would invite them both into this room and then disappear.
Aren't computers wonderful?
Yes, I realize this all sounds pretty unremarkable in todays world of camera-phone "sexting" where people sometimes send inappropriate photos of themselves to others (which is a foolhardy and dangerous thing to do) but it was pretty exciting back then when it was the newest and hottest computer technology.