For those on this board of a certain age, way way back, and before the era of DSL modems, there were (telephone) dial up modems.
New Windows computers tended to come bundled with a cheap microphone-my new computer purchases in the 80s & 90s all came with the exact same microphone that's in the embedded image.
It was the era of NetMeeting, a form of VOIP that allowed for voice communication, and other features, not only to folks who you knew, and could schedule an audio telephone style contact with (yes, it required some organization to be online with them when logging in) but also complete strangers who could "butt in". As with all VOIP, it saved the long distance charges cost of a telephone call to family/friends, and IF I remember right you could call anywhere on Planet Earth but likely the fidelity and lag (break up of the audio stream) was awful for out of country calls.
In retrospect NetMeeting WAS a social media outlet but not called by that as I recall. In many ways that era was also the era of bulletin boards that were the forerunner of forums.
IF I recall you could actually visually see all those that were logged into the server that you were logged into--not recalling how anyone got "listed" on the sever, i. e., whether log in name/whatever?
I tried to research this but I came away confused as to the current state of NetMeeting. As I recall, back then the servers for NetMeeting were MS servers [maybe even able to pick which one you wanted-can't remember exactly]; I couldn't find out if those servers still exist, OR if they've been repurposed.
There are still hits from folks asking how to use NetMeeting with Win7 thru 10 OSs, so not everyone apparently has moved on to other comparable VOIP type services.
I've very likely forgotten and left out of this topic some of the 'neat' features of NetMeeting that were all 'the rage'.
I'm sure we had one of those mics but we came quite Late to the internet - albeit 56k modem based - in the 90s. I think. I've a got an old cpm machine in the loft. No memory. All based on 5&1/4 floppie discs. Word star, datastar and basic.
There are still some VB boards I think where folk can live chat and show up on the feed as the arrive? Gaming online is pretty much the same system and folk live chat as they play.
I've still got one of those mikes and a few old dial up modems floating around. I tossed out a pile of old stuff just recently, Anyone remember 30 pin sims? and "HUUUGE" 20 mb HDDs?