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This messaging service is very simple and built into the phone.
The phone service provider (Verizon, Sprint, ATT etc.) delivers the message for the user through the cellular network as opposed to the Internet. It is entirely possible, and highly likely, that users will utilize both the phone carrier’s network to send SMS messages, while also using a messaging app to communicate over the phone's Internet (data) connection.
Either way, these programs require a user to log on and use a designated username (screenname / handle etc.) that becomes their identity on the system while in use.
This may seem redundant to mention - but it is important to understand this type of messaging utilizes the Internet network for transporting the message. Cell phones (both flip phones and smartphones) can also send text message (SMS = Short Message Service) to other phones with only the use of a phone number.
I can remember spending HOURS in those chat rooms in the late 90's.
Truth be told, I was a mid-20's single male around that time and it was a great way to meet women. AOL had search filters where you could type in a ZIP code and it would show all the females currently online near you.
But I have a nagging feeling that one who thinks chat rooms were made for the lazy is dead wrong.
I think chatroom (or chat room) is a general non-technical term, popularised by the media.
But what, exactly, happen to the chat rooms Parker so fondly remembers?
I talked with Joe Schober, the longest-running employee at AOL and its current chief architect.