To learn through osmosis, I visited a few Spanish chat rooms today. My favorite was Espanglish Chat because it’s made specifically for Spanish and English learners. But I found that chat rooms are not the best method to learn Spanish; between the typos and Spanish internet slang, I hardly knew what people were saying!
That said, it’s still good practice. Spanish chat rooms let you sit in on real conversations without feeling awkward, and you get to see examples of many common expressions.
Besides, Spanish internet slang can be fun when it isn’t confusing. For example, you can tell the Spanish speakers from the learners like me, because they type “jaja” instead of “haha”. (But “lol” seems to be universal.)
So even though I had trouble understanding them, I met a couple nice people and we exchanged instant messenger screen names to practice Spanish and English together. As long as I don’t get sick of my new friends and block them, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.