Usually you have to choose a nickname before you enter a chatroom.
- You can be "clever" , but not too clever, please. It's difficult to talk to someone with a nickname like -  ).
- Don't be afraid to use your first name, even if it clearly indicates your sex.
- You may end up using your nickname for a long time, so choose one you can live with for a while.
- Consider picking a nickname that reflects your personality, or life situation
- Some terribly overused and/or non-original nicknames include hot (or hottie), angel, size of body parts, and the names of popular rap artists.
- Expect your nickname to be shortened by others. If your nickname is GhostOfLastSummer, you'll probably be called ghost. From
the list above, you'd be called Grandma, Buy, North, Looking, and Idont
- If your nickname can be interpreted as offensive or non-G rated, you may be automatically kicked out of some
chatrooms. MSN general chats often will not allow the use of "pimp" in either nickname or chat.
- If your chosen nickname is already in use, some chatroom software will automatically put a series of numbers after the
nickname - like angel6234. You might want to consider putting underscores in your nickname, which is usually acceptable, like Grandma_of_Five_in_TN
You'll probably have the option of choosing a chatroom.
- Pick either a room that clearly welcomes/helps new chatters, or has a topic/age group that you're interested in.
- You may end up being the only one in the chatroom you've chosen. Just exit and pick another one. Room sizes vary
dramatically - I've hosted as few chatters as 10 - and I've hosted a room of more than 150 <yikes>.
Once you arrive in the chatroom
- Generally, a room list of the chatter's nicknames will appear.
- The list is often in alphabetical order, but not always. Your nickname may be on the top of the list.
- If there are Hosts/Guides/Sysops (the people in charge of the room), they will usually have either a @
or a gavel in front of their name.
- How you are greeted (if at all) depends on the type of chatroom you've
chosen. Don't be shy to say "hi" - just type it and press "enter" (or the appropriate button in that particular chatroom).
- Please don't panic if you start getting "ugly" whispers or private messages.
- Don't reply (unless you're into that stuff).
- If the room seems otherwise friendly or if a host/guide is present, ask
how you can put a chatter on "ignore" (which blocks all messages
from that person).
- If it isn't awful.. just ignore the person without the formality <s>.
- Want more advice?
- Watch the chat - get the tone, follow a conversation or two. You may get
asked the infamous a/s/l question pretty quickly (age/sex/location). Answer any or all of the question if you so choose - don't answer at all if you prefer.
Two other important things the first time you chat (these are in addition to the information in the chatiquette section, which is a "must read"):
- It's ok to let people know you're new.
- If the room is friendly, they'll help bring you into the conversation.
- If the room isn't friendly, you don't want to be there anyway.
- The big X in the upper right hand corner of your screen, or "exit" is there for a
reason - to be used. If you're uncomfortable, leave the chat, and find another.