Sorry 90s kids, it's time to say goodbye to your buddy list as AOL Instant Messenger will shut down on December 15th after 20 years of service. AIM hasn't really been used a whole lot since the early 2000s, but many forget that it revolutionized the way that we interacted with each other and was the precursor to text messaging on our mobile phones. It's hard to remember a time before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting, Snapchat, etc., but AIM was there first. Even so, it shouldn't come as a complete shock that the service is disappearing after AOL laid off a decent chunk of its staff in 2012 and AIM stopped access from third-party apps back in March.
AIM was one of the first and most successful instant messengers, widely used in the late '90s and even throughout the 2000s. Many will remember late night study sessions chatting with buddies instead of studying and illegally downloading albums by Metallica and Radiohead and sharing them via AIM. When AIM launched in 1997, using the World Wide Web required a desktop computer with a dial-up connection that tied up the phone lines and angered brothers and sisters all over the world. Perhaps more than any other product, AIM helped establish the internet as a place to hang out rather than being a virtual library or porn destination.
Tech Crunch reports that AOL sent out an email reporting that AIM was shutting down. Part of the email reads: "From setting the perfect away message to that familiar ring of an incoming chat, AIM will always have a special place in our hearts." AIM users can download images they sent until December 15th, but the app's download links will start disappearing immediately. It's truly the end of an era that many have not thought about in 15 years, but still something to take note of and think of a simpler time when we all weren't in each other's business 24/7.
As the smartphone and social media started to take over, AIM never really found its place after the shift. Though AIM started a lot of what we still use to this day, it was never able to fully integrate itself into the future and the same goes for AOL as a whole. Who knows? Maybe they spent too much money sending out software to everybody for all of those years. AOL was listed as being worth $4.4 billion dollars compared to the $224 billion that it was at its peak.
AIM was truly the first sneaky things for kids to do in school and at home on the internet. Parents couldn't quite grasp what it was for the most part and many didn't care. Emoji was born, shorthand was born, and whole bunch of really annoying things that are still used to this day. Farewell to AIM, it was good for 90s kids and influenced generations of kids that still don't know how to spell or speak in social situations. Check out the whole article over at TechCrunch. Cue the door shutting noise.