There’s no shortage of messaging platforms available to use in 2017. While the early 2000s were dominated by the like of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Google Talk (GChat), the rise of the smartphone as our main interface to contact other people brought along new applications with mobile-focused features. While iMessage remains the main way to speak to other iOS users and both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow friends to contact each other regardless of whether they’re using iOS or Android. Apps like Slack and Discord allow specific audiences to work together and communicate while remaining in their specific niche (business and gaming, respectively). Even social network apps like Twitter have a built-in chat interface, and dating apps like Tinder allow you to meet and chat with potential romantic partners. It seems like there’s no shortage of ways to communicate with your phone, but what if you want to meet new people with similar interests?
Also see our article How To Know or Tell if Someone Blocked You on Kik
There’s plenty of options for meeting new people, including the aforementioned Discord servers and assorted IRC chat rooms if you can find the right community, but Kik has been a popular choice for users since it was unveiled in 2010. It’s easy to stay anonymous on the platform, making it great for simply chatting with people you don’t know in person, and since the app is well made, it includes plenty of features that can be considered must-haves in 2017. The interface is modern and clean, the app supports group chats and chat rooms, and the addition of video chat makes it easy to meet people face to face, whether they live down the street or thousands of miles away.
Kik is, in many ways, a mini internet ecosystem within a single app, so it’s no wonder that the app has over 300 million registered users. If you haven’t yet tried the app, it’s best to grab it right now from the App Store or from Google Play. Chat rooms are an integral part of Kik and a great place to meet like-minded people who like to talk about anything and everything, though unsurprisingly, the app comes with its own fair share of reservations and warnings. Kik can be a great app, but you should know what you’re getting into before you dive into the service’s chat rooms. Let’s take a look at Kik as a messenger application and how you can find chat rooms online.
Who Kik is For
Much as we’d like to dive into discussing Kik as a platform independently of its target audience, it’s important to note the demographics of Kik before diving straight into the app and the assorted chat rooms on the platform. If you haven’t heard of Kik previously, it might be due to its biggest demographic intending to keep it that way. A large portion of Kik’s own users are teenagers—in fact, over 40 percent of teenagers in the United States were on the service as of May 2016, which is a huge portion of that 300 million-large user base. That’s not to say you won’t find plenty of twenty or thirty-somethings on the platform, but the age of the people chatting on Kik is something to keep in mind as you go through our sources for chat rooms. If you’re an older Kik user, it’s important to remember that the people you’re chatting with online may be underage since Kik’s terms of service only require the user to be 13 in order to use the platform. Likewise, if you’re under the age of 18, you should be careful about who you’re chatting with. It’s important to try your best to stay safe online with chatting with strangers. Never share any personal information about yourself, and specifically don’t accept invitations to meet in person.
Finding Public Communities on Kik
With our disclosure on Kik and safety out of the way, we can continue to focusing on where to find chat rooms online. It’s important to understand how chat rooms work on Kik, since it’s a bit different than on other platforms like AIM or Discord. Chat rooms on Kik function like online-based group chats, which means they can disappear if the founder of the group chat disbands the organized version of the chat. This means that it’s important to find communities that are built to last, as well as using constantly updated sources of Kik rooms online. While apps based on IRC allow you to input a server hash to find a community, Kik groups have specific founders and users, and are typically private until you’re added to a group.
Or at least they did, though a recent update finally changed how Kik’s group service worked in the app. Formally, it was nearly impossible to find group chats within Kik itself, since the app developers had removed the ability to search for public groups through the app. While this used to mean users were forced to use Kik codes to join groups, public groups were added back since we originally published our guide to finding communities online. We’ll discuss finding communities through sources like Reddit and Facebook below, but for now, let’s focus on the public group utility finally brought back for Kik. To start using public groups on Kik, tap on the New Message icon in your application (this may vary in location based on whether you’re using iOS or Android; our screenshots are using the latter) and select Public Groups. You’ll see a new page announcing the introduction of public groups, which warn users to keep things PG-13 in the app. Click “Got it” and head into the public chat area.
The main display for public chats shows popular searches with a hashtag in front of the group, along with the option to easily search through online groups. Not surprisingly, plenty of the groups are based on popular media: Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty, Justin Bieber, Marvel, and DC all rank among the top searches online. Group communities on Kik have a limited amount of space for people to join—fifty users at a time. This means that once a group hits fifty members, it’s filled until someone leaves the group. And this doesn’t just mean leaving the chat interface, but actually hitting the “Leave Group” option within the group settings. Once you’ve joined a group, that group chat will stay in your inbox until you leave the group. In our testing, some groups were far more active than others. Some groups remained completely silent despite having the full fifty users, while others were fairly active. As people leave the groups (typically due to inactivity), a spot will open for new users to jump in, which is why you’ll often see groups listed at 49 of 50 members.
There are a shocking amount of topics on Kik, which means most users should be satisfied by the option to look for public groups. In looking for group chats about school, we found several group chats dedicated to everything from discussion school holidays in the UK to roleplaying school members online. Same went for college, though this returned far less results than a generic search for school. A search for movies brought back a generic “Movies” group (full at the time of search), along with other groups with the word “Movies” in the hash. This was actually a problem when looking for new groups: since “movies” is a pretty generic word, anyone who put the word in the hash of their public chat would return in a search for movies. So while some groups were probably dedicated to discussing films, other groups clearly used movies as a way to bring their generic group chats to the front of the search.
Overall, searching through Kik groups seemed like a pretty good way to find topics, though a lot of the chats seemed relatively limited by the 50-person maximum capacity. Where apps like Discord allow hundreds or thousands of users into a chatroom at once, it raises the ability to quickly create communication between fans of a specific topic. And while that may create some amount of toxicity between users (as any online communication tends to do in 2017), it’s still far more lively than many of the group chats we tested through Kik’s public search.
Finding Kik Chat Rooms Through Outside Sources
So, with public chats out of the way, how do you make sure you’re finding the best communities on the platform? After all, if you’re looking to communicate with new people online, you aren’t just looking for a generic chatroom—you’re looking for an active one. This is where using social platforms comes in handy, since plenty of online groups have been created to help users find and connect with similar-minded (and hopefully similar-aged) people. These sites became incredibly popular after Kik has disabled their public search system, though they have remained common resources even after Kik brought back public groups with newly-imposed safety restrictions.
The best source online for Kik groups is, unsurprisingly, a Reddit group listed under the subreddit r/KikGroups. With over 6,000 active members, it’s easy to find people online to message with. New submissions for groups come in every couple hours on average, and the community seems both helpful and friendly. Each group submission comes with the title and topic listed in the invite, along with an age range of people allowed into the group. Some groups seem to list just an 18+ age requirement, while others are more specific, listing ranges like “16 to 22” or “14 to 19.” These might seem a bit broad (what would a 19 year old college student and a 14 year old freshman be able to discuss with each other that wouldn’t risk crossing a line?), but generally, it’s easy to pinpoint an appropriate group for your age.
Looking at the subreddit at the time of writing, there’s a good amount of variation in Kik group requests. Some general groups, like #coffeeisgreat or #pocketdimension, seem to look for new users that fall into their general age range (all and 18+, respectively). There are some specific groups just for teens, including the one that makes reference to the 14 to 19 age range mentioned above. Military-friendly chats welcome users of all ages, and there’s even a group active for talking about books with #booktalk. Some groups have additional details written within their own Reddit post, giving the reason for existing and welcoming anyone into the group that adds the specific public hash as we mentioned above. Other groups are built privately, and still use the Kik code interface that originally replaced public groups. These posts link to a page to add the Kik code from your phone using your camera, after which you’ll be accepted into the group automatically.
Reddit isn’t the only platform that keeps track of users looking for new people to chat with. Facebook has a ton of online groups dedicated to finding Kik chat rooms online, though unlike Reddit, these communities have become a bit more inactive since the reintroduction of public chats. While there are still plenty of Facebook groups that are returned within the chat, many of these are private groups that you’ll have to ask to join, instead of being able to simply browse the listings like you can on Reddit. Tumblr has a tagged section available for browsing for group chats, though you’re more likely to find selfies with the KikGroups tag than actual Kik codes.
Searching Google or Bing will get you some returns if you’re looking for a specific group, though as we saw with Facebook, the new public chat feature seems to make these searches a bit obsolete. It’s much easier to find new groups through the Kik chat than through using a search engine online. Finally, there are several online websites that exist primarily to find new users and groups to chat with, though we’re going to restrain from linking to those sites, as they’ve been known to play host to dangerous or shady predators. Since Kik has such a young audience for chatting, it’s important to be careful when using these sites. Even the subreddit group can be seen with some amount of danger, though the rules and guidelines there established by the moderators keep things a bit cleaner than you might otherwise expect.
With Kik having finally readded public chats back into the application, it’s easier than ever to find chat rooms online while maintaining your safety and privacy. It’s important that, with Kik’s audience skewing to the young side of things, that users young and old alike maintain their privacy online. Avoiding shady and suspicious groups online is an easy way to make sure you’re staying safe (especially if you’re under the age of 18), though even members in their 20s should be careful when approaching a new user online. While the market for private groups has dried up a bit since public chats were reintroduced as a feature, the Kik Groups subreddit is a really positive place to head to if you’re looking for new communities and safe spaces. Kik has come a long way in trying to provide their users with a specific amount of safety when browsing online, and it’s a positive step to see the the new public chats feel a bit more safe than ever before.