This week, I was shaken to learn: History was leaving.
AOL Instant Messenger, the mainstay of my initial days online and late 90s to early 2000s personal pop culture, is signing off for the final time. The history of AOL is gone in one moment.. on one day.
December 15, AIM will leave us forever. “AIM is signing off for the last time,” said the product team in a tweet on Friday. “Thanks to our buddies for making chat history with us!”
This is a big deal to me.. momentous in a way for internet history.
For those who only know Twitter and Instagram, along with other social network dives, let me inform you a bit about the past.. back when the net wasn’t just a ghetto of awful hate and downgraded lingo.. Instead it was a place where you’d ‘chat.’ When you would set up rooms.. invite people. Begins lots of conversations with “A/S/L?” …
When I was first online, besides searching Google *(yes I used it very early on)* for HALLOWEEN movie fan sites, I signed on to AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name was AND STILL IS ‘Loomicide.’ Around the time I came up with that name, I was busy spending weekends watching horror movies with friends when we all coined the term that combined homicide with the famed Dr. Loomis from the Halloween films.
I gathered friends on AOL.. During my ‘time’ online, people actually signed off! Today, you’re judged by your live video and posted ‘in the moment’ photos on Facebook. Then? You were judged by your away message.. You could post song lyrics that fit the mood.. get attention with a strange and morbid quote.. And then return with a vengeance when you were again ready to type.
In that time, the net was still run quite a bit on dial up. So when your mouse hovered over a friend and you saw he or she was online for days, you knew: They were ahead of the curve…..they got rid of dial up for the next best thing, DSL..
After 9/11, I had no where really to turn besides AOL messenger and chat rooms.
I first talked to Matt Drudge on AOL instant messenger. He is still my ‘friend’ on there and I Swear he hasn’t signed off since 1997…
AOL fame died off.. as we went mobile and connected 24/7 to the bet, AOL didn’t stand a chance. Smart phones actually created an obsolete environment for Instant Messanger. So did Myspace. And Xanga.. eventually Facebook ….
BUT AIM was still there! For years!
I signed on occasionally. As a matter of fact, while I write this post, I am signed on again.. Loomicide still has the same away message I posted years ago, and the same little cartoon GIF I created in 2002.. Like a period of time stuck in the moment..
So many years have gone by..
AOL has seen its day.
And by God it will be missed.
I think we have an affinity for us, those of us who used it regularly then.. It got us through a number of hard nights… long days… and weekends out. Yes indeed.. AOL was a friend.
And in December, right before Christmas, its use becomes officially over.
Until then, maybe check out AIM and find loomicide. Maybe I’ll sign on a few more times before the demise is met.