Before Facebook, there was Alachat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Intrigue, laughter, mystery, drama, romance and the occasional broken heart – like a daytime soap opera, Alaweb’s chat rooms provided its users with loads of entertainment almost a decade before Facebook and Twitter existed.

It was Monday’s announcement that Alaweb would no longer be available in the new fiscal year that made me think back to the new millennium to the “good old days.”

Nearly every teenager or young adult who grew up in and around Covington County during that time remembers the days of Alachat’s EZ-chat and FX-chat.

It was a time when locals played chatty Cathy on the Internet with interesting usernames, and it was always fun to taunt the sysops (the message board leaders) to see if you could get kicked out.

Oh, yeah – we were rebels.

Whether you were hoping to solve the mystery of who was behind a username or find a friend or a romantic interest, you probably used the famous question ASL, which Alachatters will automatically know stands for age, sex and location.

While hiding your identity from your classmates and neighbors, Alachat allowed you to have your own online identity with its random avatars from glittery roses to cartoon characters.

Friendships and romances were sparked through Alachat. You could surely find plenty of * Tigger loves Pooh * references on the chat board.

Tons of sleep was lost as you waited patiently for your friends to log on. It was there we began testing the limits of the Internet by sharing our ridiculous looking webpages created from or some other free source.

Nearly everyone’s webpage said the same thing including name, age, location, physical characteristics and any other random information we thought everyone on the Internet should know about it us all packaged in a God-awful web design layout.

As hard as it would have been to believe back then with the world wide web finally at our fingertips, things were simpler and safer for Internet users.

I know we’re all thankful for high-speed Internet services, but Alachat brought about a sense of camaraderie that will forever be engrained in our lives.

I know I made lifelong friends from a simple dial-up Internet chat room, and met people from the area whom I probably may not have ever met.

Though the Internet has evolved since then, we still have our memories of the laughs, the fights and the romances that once were. Thinking back to those days really puts things into perspective of how automatic things have become these days.

To quote Miranda Lambert, “It all just seemed so good the way we had it. Back before everything became automatic.”