If you are just starting a new character and still in the starting instance, yes, it is very quiet. You're not in the "real" world yet. When you complete the starter instance at about level 6, you'll enter the "real" world. Go to a populated area like Bree and you'll typically see lots of local chat.
Every server has a player created channel for global chatting. On many it's called "glff" but your server may vary.
Choose your kin wisely and feel free to quit from one if you find your fellow kinsmen to be ignoring you even if most of them are online. Sure they can be really busy but the officers were up for the recruiting just can't ignore the lowbies they invited.