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Conversing with strangers used to be what the Internet was all about – at least, before everyone you know started using the Internet. These days you’re more likely to use the web to talk to your friends and family on Facebook than to fire up a random chat app.
But why not connect with people you don’t know?
The Internet is a big place, after all, and chat rooms used to be the place where we all met. For these and other reasons, even Facebook is trying to bring back chat rooms. But if you’d like to quickly get that old-school Internet feeling back, here are a few chat apps that might be up to the task.
Hack.chat: Instant Chat Rooms with No Sign-In
We’ll start with something extremely simple. Hack.chat lets you create a chat room just by making a URL, which you can then share with friends. There’s no sign-in, no passwords, nothing: it’s just a URL to a chat room that anyone can join.
If you want to quickly get a conversation started between a group of people, it’s hard to imagine anything easier than this. Just share the URL and get started – everyone can join immediately.
There are lots of ways to create your own chat room, but none so fast as this. Give it a shot.
Chats.Directory: Find Slack Rooms Related To Your Interests
Chat rooms aren’t dead, but the medium keeps changing. AOL chat rooms are long gone, and IRC isn’t what it used to be, but lots of people are turing the business-oriented chat application Slack into online communities. If you want to join some, Chats.Directory is a great place to look. This site compiles some of the best Slack communities out there.
Explore this directory and you’ll probably find some communities you care about, and want to contribute to. Give it a shot! You could also, of course, use Slack to start your own community and eventually get it listed here. Get to it!
Cord (Android, iOS): Send Voice Messages
Science fiction imagined we’d all be constantly using video chat instead of phone calls by now. Instead, we’re using…text. Why?
In part because text messages are less intrusive. I can send you one without demanding your immediate attention. Phone calls – and video calls, for that matter – demand an immediate response.
Cord is trying to make audio communication less intrusive, by letting you send an audio message to someone and allowing them to respond on their own time.
It’s potentially a great idea, but only if people use it. Give it a shot and see if you like it – you can even send a message to non-users, if you like.
HappyFox Chat: Add Chat to Any Website
If you’re starting an online business, being easy to reach can give you an edge over competitors. The personal touch matters, which is why you might want to add a way to talk directly with would-be consumers right to your website.
We’ve looked at plenty of ways to add chat rooms to your website over the years, but most of them were either lacking or expensive. HappyFox Chat might be the exception.
If you need free website chat rooms, add this to your list of services to check out. It offers a pretty good free tier: the main limitation is how long your archive lasts. Desktop apps with native notifications make it easy to stay on top of conversations, and integration with the rest of HappyFox will be a big plus for anyone invested in that ecosystem.
MeowChat [No Longer Available] (Android, iOS): Chat with Strangers
This one’s interesting – think of it as a less anonymous Yik Yak. MeowChat lets you chat with strangers, in either a group setting or one-on-one. You can choose to chat to someone close to you, if you like, or to chat with some random individual somewhere on the planet.
And there are features not seen in other apps, such as the ability to quickly record and share a voice message. If you’d like to start a conversation with a stranger, try it.
Chatting Can Be Fun
I want to know: do you like chatting? If so, where? Let’s compile some of the best chat rooms on the web in the comments below.
Oh, and I’m probably contractually obligated to mention Grouvi [Broken URL Removed], a project highly recommended by my boss (who made it). Check it out!