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Internet Relay Chat: Introduction to IRC

Monday, February 15th, 2016 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Using The Internet
 
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With major steps being made by IM programs like Skype, it’s easy to think that the once-populated world of internet chatrooms has come to an end. While it’s true that it’s definitely past its prime, there are still chatrooms out there that see a lot of use. The majority of these rooms utilise what’s called ‘IRC’, a technological standard used to create and run chatrooms online.

happycomputercrop

‘IRC’ stands for ‘Internet Relay Chat’, and it has been a part of the internet since 1988. While its prime was around the mid-2000s, the top 100 IRC servers in 2011 dealt with approximately 500,000 users. In short, it’s old; but it’s certainly not dead!

One of the bigger elements of IRC that draws people is the sense of community. IM services are very good for connecting with friends and family, but that’s where their usefulness stops. IRC heavily focuses on creating a chatting experience between yourself and people around the world, rather than those you already know.

It’s not just general chatter, however; the idea behind IRC is that people connect through to a central IRC server. From that server, there are multiple ‘rooms’ which users can join. Each ‘room’ has a theme or a topic which is discussed within that room. For a simpler time imagining how IRC works, imagine if the server is like a giant conference centre containing hundreds of different rooms. If you wanted to discuss computing, you take a look at the rooms within the conference centre and find the one where the topic is computers. Then you enter that room and chat with the people already there.

So, how do you enter these rooms?

First of all, you’re going to need to find the channels you want to connect to. Have a little moment to think about the sort of topics you wouldn’t mind meeting with strangers about, and then look for places that accommodate your interests.

How do you look for those rooms? There are many places where you enter a search term and are displayed a list of rooms that match your terms. One of the more powerful ones is the Kiwi IRC search, which goes through multiple IRC servers to find a room that matches your terms. So, how do you use it?

First, you go to the website. There, you’ll see this:

Kiwi01

In the box, you want to enter the topic you want to talk about.

Kiwi02

Then, after you click the magnifying glass button, you’ll be taken to a list of channels.

Tomorrow, in part 2 of this article, I’ll show you how to find a channel and start chatting.

~ Simon

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3 Responses to “Internet Relay Chat: Introduction to IRC”

  1. […] Last time, we explored what Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is, its history, and how to get started. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can get connected to this vast chatting service and start finding like-minded folk around the world, and what you may find after connecting. […]

  2. Mark Roberts says:

    Being very deep within a few interests kind of guy that I am, I’m typing here before checking this site out since I use to be in Second Life a lot where I’ve been ejected from worlds under no particular reasons but just to be dislike as guys that run some of these simulated worlds abuse their ownership power and bluntly get told off in the worse profanity that totally tips moral grounds “Ah-Wipe-That” to checking out this “Internet Relay Chat” entering with others of same like minded individuals to interest!! That if this delivers as such to be This will be more > than > thx – Then hopefully 1 day it’ll be a virtual worldly existence and taking that 2 levels up to hopefully mixing in with reality as an <> worldly experience…

  3. Mark Roberts says:

    Being very deep within a few interests kind of guy that I am, I’m typing here before checking this site out since I use to be in Second Life a lot where I’ve been ejected from worlds under no particular reasons but just to be dislike as guys that run some of these simulated worlds abuse their ownership power and bluntly get told off in the worse profanity that totally tips moral grounds “Ah-Wipe-That” to checking out this “Internet Relay Chat” entering with others of same like minded individuals to interest!! That if this delivers as such to be {so-broaden-to-selective-topic} This will be more > than > thx – Then hopefully 1 day it’ll be a virtual worldly existence and taking that 2 levels up to hopefully mixing in with reality as an “Augmented-Reality” worldly experience…

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