Plenty of things come and go, and sometimes you don’t realize that something is still there until it’s on the brink of extinction. That was the case with AOL Instant Messenger.
When I was a kid, I already preferred written communication over talking on the phone. That meant that I spent most of my time talking to friends via instant messaging and e-mail. Dial up was still the norm at the beginning, so conversations had to be scheduled and could only last for so long. And Lord forbid your parents were expecting an important call when your friends were expecting you. But AOL Instant Messenger (better known to us as AIM) was our original favorite instant messenger.
For the first few years, it’s how I had most of my conversations with my husband. We would chat for hours if the phone line was free. It was an amusingly stark contrast to when we were in person and hardly talked at all. There are so many memories tied with AIM of him and of conversations with plenty of other friends too.
After a while, we left AIM by the wayside. MSN Messenger ended up taking the top spot, especially when other forms of Internet access became more prevalent and since it included games like checkers and Othello. Most of our other friends dropped off the instant messaging bandwagon completely, but my husband and I still spent quite a bit of time on it, even once we had taken to actually talking in person and sometimes even on the phone.
It’s many years later now, and I didn’t even realize that AOL Instant Messenger was still around. It’s not that I had forgotten about it. I had just moved on and figured that AOL had gone into extinction already. I didn’t realize that they were both still around until my husband found out that AIM is finally going away this December.
It’s strange to think about. It used to be an important part of my daily life. And even though I haven’t touched it in I don’t know how many years, it’s sad to hear that it’s about to go away forever. It’s truly the end of an era.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, my husband and I still frequently use instant messaging. His phone doesn’t get good reception at work, so guess what replaces texting while he’s there.
Did you used to use AOL Instant Messenger? How did you like to talk to your friends when you were growing up?