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At the pinnacle of AOL, the company had 35 million paying subscribers. When it was still called Quantum Computer Services, the company debuted chatrooms.“That was a huge focus of the service,” Joe Schober, who was a beta tester at Quantum Computing Services in the late 1980s and officially worked for AOL from 1992 to 2014, tells Regular chat rooms could hold up to 23 people.“Auditorium” chatrooms could hold hundreds or thousands of users and had a moderator.That was the 1990s, and Riccardi was into grunge and metal music, video games, and computers.He’d chat about Nirvana, search for guitar tabs, trade shareware, and find opponents for . That year, AOL Instant Messenger launched, born out of the Buddy List feature in AOL.With AOL, users could get information from the White House and “even send the president electronic mail, known as e-mail, if they want.”Angelique Weger, a 36-year-old front-end developer, recalls using chatrooms in middle school.She would spend time roleplaying as a medieval sorceress on the Red Dragon Inn sci-fi/fantasy chatroom and meeting teens from across the country in Teen Chat.“I really liked the sense of just being represented and just being understood by my words,” Weger tells “There wasn’t any sort of physical representation of yourself.
“It was a different time, because in the ‘90s, no one gave their real personal information on the internet,” says the now 35-year-old web developer.A 1993 Associated Press story even describes how then-President Bill Clinton was considering holding a town hall on AOL.His screen name was “Clinton Pz.”Clinton’s team of “young, high-tech specialists” were “pondering new ways of communicating directly with Americans,” reported the AP.User-created sexual fantasy rooms are also popular.On Garden Chat, sometimes people still trade tips for gardening and cooking, messaging back and forth in different fonts, font weights, and colors.