Chat rooms solved this problem to some extent, and there are many good chat rooms available on the Internet, with extremely diverse topics...Not too long ago, the Internet was used as an information portal.
While some chat rooms are run with the express and implicit need of networking for people, there are other chat rooms which have other unscrupulous intentions.
Some chat rooms are just socially irresponsible and may act as a catalyst in exposing children to mature content.
This was, of course, not ideal, and had many drawbacks, the main one being the authenticity of the person you were chatting with.
Such chat rooms also came under criticism because they were not moderated properly.
This partly led to the development of the newer chat rooms of today, most of which remain browser-based, and not stand-alone programs.