When in IRC chats there's the "/me" command to do your actions.
Just type it in like this: /me your action here, and it will print out your name and the action you just did.
Usually people will keep in contact through e-mail, regular mail, and sometimes phone calls.
And if you do somehow find a way to meet, hey more power to you!
Or if you want to do the asterix technique instead in an IRC chat you can do that also.