Chat Tips

When it comes to Chat, we've been there, done that, now serving 101 tips in 18 categories ranging from About Chat Emoticons to What Are Chat Events?.

Is it possible for someone to access your personal IM's that have already taken place?

Accessing Personal Instant Messages

It is not possible for someone from another computer to access your instant messages unless they have your personal username and password, and even in this case, it is most likely not possible.

Most instant messaging services have an auto save feature, where the system will automatically save conversations. The saved conversations are stored in a file that anyone using your computer may access. Your chat buddy may also have this as well.

You can turn off this feature by viewing the preferences file and finding the auto save feature.

Can anyone see what my past IM's were related to?

Someone Else Viewing Instant Messages

Can anyone see previous Instant Messages or chat messages? In most cases, anyone who does not have access to your computer cannot see the messages, with the exceptions of the person you are chatting with and sometimes the chat host.

However, someone who uses your computer may be able to see your previous messages.

For starters, if you use chat rooms, your history pages may reveal the chat room conversation. Clean your history file if you want to protect yourself from being reviewed in this manner.

If you use an Instant Messaging system, like ICQ or Yahoo, check your preferences. You may find the messenger system automatically saves your chat files. You can delete the chat files and turn off this feature.

(: . .... .? what those this mean?


Emoticons, or smilies, are symbols used to create a picture. Sometimes you have to bend your head a little to get the picture. To view a :) just tilt your head to the left. You can see two eyes and a smile.

Different emoticons express different feelings.
:) means the user is happy.
:( means the user is sad.

You can find a list of various emoticons and what they mean by visiting

Where can a journalist go for human interest story ideas?

Journalism Chat Rooms

Are you a journalist looking for human interest stories? You may find a chat room out there that is right for you. There are many journalist chat rooms, some with specific topics about finding human interest stories.

Fellow journalists are often open to sharing information and new ideas. Maybe another journalist knows of some new exciting happenings in the area. Is a local shelter opening up in your area? Networking with journalists in human interest chat rooms may help you find this information.

Keep track of the most helpful chat rooms by bookmarking them. Visit daily, as sometimes human interest stories have a short lifespan. You may miss an opportunity if you stay away too long.

Can I report some local news in a news chat room?

Human Interest Chat Rooms

Keeping up with the news? You may find a human-interest story that has sparked your interest. Do you want to know more? A human interest chat room may help you keep on top of what's going on and what you may do to help.

Many news stations keep a chat room open to discuss any topic, including human interest stories. You can also do a search for human interest chat rooms with your favorite search engine. If there is a particular news story you were interested in, but you didn't catch most of what was being said, you may be able to find answers to your questions. Just ask. Many people interested in these topics are very helpful and you can find them in one of the many human interest chat rooms.

News chat rooms are not just local or national news. A lot of them offer options to other chat rooms, including missing children, crime prevenetion, neighborhood watch, and anti-drug campaigns.

How can I handle three kids all under the age of five without neglecting them?

Parenting Chat Rooms

Starting, or adding to, a family can be a difficult transition in your life. If you are about to start a new family or have a family and have questions, you can find a parenting chat room online. Many people run into problems with their family just like you. You are not alone.

A parenting chat room can offer advice and tips from other families concerning parenting. If you feel stressed out about the responsibilities about parenting, you may find that discussing your problem with a parenting chat room may help.

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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.