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Types of Online Communication
Chat (IRC)

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has long been a popular way for many people to get together online to chat all at once. The way that it works is simple: you log on to a chat server, join a chat room (or channel), and every message entered by a person in that room is broadcast to everyone else in the same room.

Chat servers must belong to a chat network, such as EFnet (the original IRC network), Undernet, and DALnet. All chat channels on a particular network are relayed to all the other servers connected to the same network (hence the name Internet Relay Chat).

You can easily recognize a chat channel by the # symbol before the name of the channel (for example, #chat). The name of the channel will usually give a good indication about the main topic of discussion on that channel. For instance, the channel #music-videos is devoted to discussing music videos, naturally.


A chat client is the software you use to access the IRC server, and most chat clients are designed to permit a lot more than simply relaying chat text. IRC clients can also log (record) chat sessions, send private messages, and even send and receive files to other users chatting.

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