That was the 1990s, and Riccardi was into grunge and metal music, video games, and computers.
While her children don’t use AOL anymore, she’s kept it up.
Her favorite room is “Garden Chat,” where she trades tips on how to grow vegetables and flowers.
A press release from 1997 promotes a calendar of events that included an online chat with each of the Spice Girls and a downloadable audio greeting from Oprah Winfrey (in honor of Mother’s Day).
Others weren’t so impressed: “Any performance skills you have go out the window,” complained comedian Jay Leno in a 1995 Now, some twenty years later, the once-vibrant chatroom communities of AOL have nearly disappeared, but they are still there … About 1,500 people can be counted in all of AOL’s public chatrooms today, a number that in the ‘90s wouldn’t have even matched a large “auditorium”-style room where celebrities would hold court.
Users could also create private and public chatrooms and host scheduled events.
Initially, mostly tech-minded people joined AOL chatrooms, since at the time, it wasn’t as common to own a home computer.
There was little trolling.“It wasn’t a troublesome space,” Weger says.
“I have to imagine moderating spaces online in 2017. It was more often you had to remind people what the values and norms of the room were.”Schober recalls that at AOL’s peak, AOL would sometimes gain over 70,000 users a day, causing chatroom communities to rapidly evolve.
To this day, Garden Chat appears to be one of the most active chatrooms on AOL.