Gone are the days when the internet was new and it was totally okay and not at all creepy to make friends online. Back then the internet took ages to load, it required loud screeching sounds to alert you that you were indeed connected, and required many minutes’ patience to see just one image. During this era, young people connected via message services like AOL Instant Messenger. We adopted fun, ironic screen names to indicate to other fellow youths that, hey, we are up with the current fun tech stuff and are totally down with this weird internet thing. My AIM screen name, if I remember correctly, was “HumorIncognito,” because I wanted to prove that I was both funny and had an okay vocabulary for a 12-year-old.
It’s with a heavy heart that I must announce this era is coming to an end. AOL has announced that it will be discontinued on December 15 of this year. Pour one out for AIM.
— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017
The truth is, very few people likely use it anymore. At its peak in the early 2000s, tens of millions of people flocked to it as a novel way to chat with friends. For many, AIM was the gateway drug to the crippling addiction that is the social web. But as other message apps stormed the scene, it was unable to keep up.
Today’s youths use other apps like Snapchat, or so I hear. And with other services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook Messenger, AIM has surely lost the fight. So it’s not terribly surprising that this vestige of a bygone digital era is finally going away. Let’s memorialize the instant messenger by recalling all the good times we had on it; striking up conversations that consisted solely of: “hey” “hey” “whats up” “nm u” “nm”; and lest we forget the artistry required for crafting a good away message.
RIP AIM. We hardly knew ye.