Chat is a popular online activity. You can use your WestNet account to chat with people from all over the world. The introduction is intended for the novice chatter. If you have used IRC before and are looking for new channels and topics, check out Advanced IRC Chat.
One important thing to remember is that, strictly speaking, chat is not a "feature" of WestNet. Chatting on the Internet is done through Internet Relay Chat, a network of independant chat servers. Much in the same way that anyone can put up a web site, anyone can put up a chat server. You connect to an IRC server using a special program called an IRC Client.
First, you will need a client. If you do not already have one on your computer, we have made a couple of the easier ones available here. Before you download either of them, take a look at their web-sites.
Download Now for Windows 3.1
Download Now for Windows 95
Download Now for Macintosh
Log on to the Internet, and start your IRC client:
Hit the Connect button (or choose File, Connect), and you will be logged on to the network. A list of channels will appear. We suggest starting at #beginner to get yourself acquainted with chatting. Click on #beginner, and click Join. You will be thrown into a chatting forum, with messages appearing on the left, and a list of participating chatters on the right.
Now take a deep breath and start typing. You'll probably be greeted on entry, so answer your greetings with a "Hello", or "What's up?". Start a dialogue with one of the other chatters. Don't be rude and sit there watching a discussion - join in!
When you are ready to disconnect from the channel, close the window. You will still be logged on to the network, though. You can log on to different channels, or even create your own! To disconnect from the network, hit the Disconnect button.
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