"Oh Oh !" - ICQ's Online Romances
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Now I know that I'm gonna get in trouble for writing this story, for a few of my viewers have confided in me that they actually met present or future love interests online. So to them I say have no fear, for in no way will I reveal your identities to the general public. It is just that incidents of this are becoming so rampant , even here in little Trinidad and Tobago, that I had to write something about it !
ICQ has become , by far, one of the largest communities on the internet today. It's membership is in the millions and it's scope is worldwide. It is very easy to configure and use and it is one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends online. The beauty of it is that you get to choose who you want to talk to. You can screen incoming callers by adding on security features to your configuration and locking out intruders. You maintain your own personal contact list, and you can choose to either send messages or chat in chat window with someone.
This ease of use (user-friendliness) has made the program very popular on the internet and it seems like you're not really on the net unless you have ICQ !. ICQ allows the user to optionally add personal information about themselves if they so desire. You can put as much or as little info as you wish and therefore be as anonymous as you like.
ICQ maintains a list of users registered with them called "the white pages". From this list you can easily see people who are both on and offline from around the world. You can search by country, interests, names etc. and more often than not you can find someone you know to chat with. Sometimes though , some people pop-up out of nowhere wanting initiate a chat. You always have the option to refuse , but more often than not you let them in. You chat with them sending messages at first, then maybe entering a chat window with them. You chat about this and that, exchange life stories and soon enough they become a regular on your contact list.
Soon enough you find yourself coming online just to see if that person is on and before you know it you're sending pictures and maybe even exchanging phone numbers (yes folks there are people who actually give their numbers out to people they meet on the net !). Next thing ya know, that stranger that you met online, someone who you really don't know, wants to meet !!!
Now remember , you don't really know this person. All you know is what that have told you about themselves, or maybe you looked up their info on ICQ and saw that they lived in the same country as you or may have the same interests or something. All stuff which they could have lied about. The picture that they sent you could be cut out from a magazine and scanned or copied from a web page. This person that you have been chatting with online for the past few months can be a serial killer, a child abuser or on the FBI's top ten list !!
I remember one story told to me by a friend of this girl that he knows who met a guy online. She started chatting with him and before long they became friends. After a few months she gave him her number and then her address, and ,not surprising , the guy showed up at her house one day quiet unexpected !!! One geeky- looking psycho ! She was having some friends over at the time and the guy insisted on liming. She and her friends did their best to get rid of the guy that night , making all sorts of excuses and before long they decided to say that they were all going to Anchorage (dunb eh !). Of course he wanted to go as well, and so he did. Well , it ended up that they really shunned the guy and he eventually left. But from what I heard he displayed really strange psycho tendencies, following the girl around and stuff.
So, this just goes to show that you can never really get to know someone online, people often masquerade their true identities in an attempt to seem more interesting (or less weird )than they actually are.
Hey, I'm not trying to discourage you people from using the net to meet people, all I'm saying is be careful ! The internet provides a level anonymity which is sometimes frightening. There are allot of sickos out there (especially in the states !) so watch out ! and leave the relationships "person to person " instead of "person to computer to computer to person ! " (heh !)