Cue swinging open door logon sound.
After 20 years, it’s time for AOL Instant Messenger to say G2G 4ever~. Yes, that’s right, the first online communication platform that trained the millennial generation to become professional online stalkers officially signed off for the final time today.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” wrote Michael Albers, communications products VP at Oath. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 20 years, let me take you down memory lane:
It’s 4:17 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and I sprint home from the bus stop to pop a bagel in the toaster oven, press play on my stereo to blare “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” by Good Charlotte, and fire up that dial-tone to sign on AIM. As the bagel toasts and my mom lectures me about doing my homework before dance practice, I’m impatiently waiting for my crush to instant message me.
This was definitely the beginning of our generation being known as anti-social because we hid behind computer screens, pouring our hearts out to our crushes only to avoid them all of the next day at school or posting passive aggressive away messages with all of your REAL friends’ initials for the mean girls to see.
AIM away messages are comparable to your company Slack statuses, but they are no way near as clever. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I spent many a school night reading away messages on awaymessages.com while eating all the lunch snacks until your dad tells you to go to bed or he’s taking the keyboard away. Some away message gems from @YourAwayMessage on Twitter:
AOL Instant Messenger taught us how to use a ridiculous amount of internet acronyms, the Comic Sans font with no shame, to always print risky convos for blackmail (getting those receipts, even before the rise of Kim K.), and how to be social while locked alone in your parents’ office. There is no communication platform out there that can match the love and nostalgia that I, and so many others, have for AIM. So if you have time today, go read some away messages and lay your embarrassing AIM screenname to rest because it’s time to close the online door.
~* sWeEt dReAmS AIM*~
Cue creaking door closing.