There are many different IRC networks to choose from Each network has many different channels. To get started you’ll need to know the server and channel that your community uses.
Basics of IRC - There are many other shortcuts that you can use on IRC, but the items below are basics of getting started.
- Download a chat client (XChat and IRSSI for Linux or Windows; Colloquy for Mac).
- Open the chat client and enter the network name and channel that the organization specifies on their homepage.
- Set up your IRC nick (your nickname, be sure not to use an offensive name) - it can be initials or numbers, anything you want it to be.
- "Hang out" on the channel — watch the conversations that folks are having and chime in when you want to add to a conversation or answer someone’s question. Learn by watching how others are "chatting" with one another. And of course feel free to ask questions.
- IRC is designed for short communications. Most messages are 20 words or less and communication is usually very quick and informal.
- When asking a question or responding to a specific person, start the line with their name and a colon. i.e. "gcigirl: when is the deadline?" That way the person is notified that you are directly addressing them. And likewise if someone uses your nick you will receive a notification that they are "talking" to you.