IRC is a near real time chat network where you can interact with other users in forums. I say near real time because lag times on IRC can often be somewhat high (as in there is a delay between the time you send your message and the time that others actually get it).
Here are some IRC channels of interest to FreeBSD users. Note that there are different networks of IRC channels. In order to log in to one of these channels, you must be logged in to a server for the correct network.
For Windows, a good IRC client is Mirc. For X Windows in FreeBSD, you might like X-Chat, which is available in the irc category of the FreeBSD ports tree.
Like the USENET newsgroups and mailing lists, it's important to ...