Today is the day my friends in the cyber realms, for AOL’s Instant Messenger aka “AIM” is signing off for the final time. It first launched in May of 1997 and was in my opinion was pretty awesome for quite some time. Younger readers might not really remember it since texting and Facebook Messenger seem to rule the world of online chatter nowadays but back in the nineties this was initially all that you had.
Way back in the bygone days, my AOL account was set up with the KMPIERCE1 profile since I could not get KENPIERCE and believe me that was so annoying. Eventually they allowed for longer Screen Names so I was able to secure KENNYPIERCE before another version of me could snag it. In AIM you would organize your real life friends and the online ones into groups that made the most sense for you and I recall having one for musicians, family and even the occasional co-worker. As time went on and other services got into the mix, AIM would have competition from MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and even this thing called ICQ. To use any of these you needed their own software client and all of this was used via a dial-up modem. My how the times have changed.
Eventually software such as Trillian allowed users to load ALL of their respective online profiles into a single client and this was super helpful. You didn’t need four different applications running at the same time and instead could just use the one. I would use Trillian for years to access my AIM buddy list and the rest. Of course, speaking frankly, I haven’t used many of my old screen names for a number of years because those I wanted to “speak” to via the computer I would just email or text if I knew them good enough. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat dominating the way that everyone is interacting, there didn’t seem much sense in keeping up with it anymore. MSN Messenger would get replaced by Skype which I NEVER use and Yahoo Messenger is only functional on the web instead of a client and I deleted the ICQ account in total a few months ago during a purge of extraneous online items. I’ve read that your AIM Email address will still function but your Buddy List, Images and Chats will be gone (unless you had the setting enabled to save them for the last option) so hopefully those of you who were still using the service took some action. If you didn’t its ciao ciao.
Closing up I have to say that I did enjoy using AIM for the time that I did. Thanks to some topical chat rooms, I even kept a cabal of online friends who I would have never met in the real world and even so many years later some of them still touch base with me once in awhile which is nice. It feels like forever ago since I heard the dial-up strains to connect and the words “You’ve Got Mail” when there was something in my In-Box but like my Father always says “the only constant is change”. Thanks AOL for giving us AIM and letting us connect to worlds that were not as easy to reach back then. I hope all of the folks on my original Buddy List are well, and should any wish to catch up, I am easily found thanks to the websites. Now its time to click the sign-off icon and say “Goodbye”. Twenty years is a great run for sure.
Official Wiki Entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIM_(software)