Using Talk City is very simple. It's essentially a semi-private IRC server. IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat, an older protocol used for online chatting. There are numerous IRC servers, each of which hosts channels on a variety of topics. To connect to an IRC server, a user simply needs the proper software client, and there are free clients available for virtually any operating system.
Talk City allows most users to access their IRC network via a Java client that runs on the Talk City Web page. However, purchasing a membership (which costs just $7.77 per year) allows users to access the Talk City server with any IRC client they want to use.
In practice, chatting at Talk City is much like any other group chat. Users choose their own nickname when they create an account. They can also create a profile that includes photos or other information, and other users can view this profile directly from the Talk City Java chat room. The main screen shows whatever the other users have entered into the chat in chronological order. It looks something like this:
Alice: the weather is lovely out today
Fred: Not here, it's raining cats and dogs.
Alice: I think I'll go to the park.
Sam: Good idea, I'll take my dog to the park!
Johann: Go Cubs!
If there are a lot of users in a room, it can get a bit confusing when multiple conversations are going on at the same time. It's also possible to send private messages to someone. These messages won't be seen by the other people in the room.
There are also games that can be played using Talk City. They're mostly trivia games run by bots, programs that automatically display the questions in the chat window, track each player's answers and score points for correct responses.
Up next, we'll look at some of the benefits of Talk City.