I was not born into the world of IRC channels by default, I missed that wave of communication as a kid. But I did find a little known visual chat room back in 2005. It allowed users to chat with whomever was on the map, with an avatar of your choice that you could even design yourself in something as simple as paint.
The Verge detailed the odd life kids lead in finding their online sanctuaries. When I found my chat room back then, I was thirteen and I’m twenty now. I keep in touch with some of the friends I made back then and it spurred me into the developer life I lead now.