IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a long time popular way of chatting to many people at once, yes, there
really was and has been for 20 years, a way to communicate with many other people, long before MySpace or
facebook. IRC is an UN-MODERATED medium, but most IRC Servers have local policies, you can view these by
typing /motd upon connecting to a network.
IRC works by channels, channels are created by users using the hash symbol,there are others like ampersand for local only channels, but if you're reading this, then you're too new to worry about those, and basically people only use global channels, like #friends or #myplace .. whatever you want to call it really (within reason) many IRC servers provide nickname and channel registration services via bots or web pages.
You can do things like put a key on a channel (mode +k) This means only you're friends can enter if they know the key (password), you can make it so only registered nicknames can enter your channel, moderate the channel so only those with ops (+o) or voice (+v) can talk in public, it has ignore and silence ability, and a query option so you can enter into a continuous private chat with only one person, or use of a msg option so you can send a one off private message to someone, you can set it so your channel is private so when someone issues a /list to view all channels, your private chan, will not show up.
OK, lets say I want to connect to the UnderNet IRC server, my nickname (alias) will be Nobby and I want to join a channel and wait for my friends to come on and chat to me... so I'd type:
/server irc.undernet.org <-- Connect to this server /nick Nobby <-- Change to use this nickname/alias (most IRC clients let you pre configure this) /j #wasteland <-- Join a channel called wasteland, if it doesnt exist, it will be createdFor further learning experiences we suggest you have a read of Undernet's Class tutorial
Some channels on large networks may have many hundreds of users, it is best to learn your way in a smaller or private channel, you are welcome to use the server mentioned in our example it's small and normally very quiet, so don't be afraid of making a fool out of yourself, everyone needs to learn how to crawl before they can walk!
Download a client for your favorite PC/Device now and give it a try!