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In the late 1990’s, the world had never seen anything like it. “AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.” AOL Instant Messenger was created in 1997, and will be discontinued on 15 December 2017.
It managed to outlast MSN Messenger, its old instant messaging rival, which was shelved in 2014.
Circa 1990-something, a chatroom was a place you could virtually go to interact with other people. This was before AOL’s free instant messaging service, AIM, took over. Maybe later when you weren’t tying up the phone line while logged on to the Internet (only the lucky could do both at the same time).
In AOL chatrooms, you could chose from one of the MANY categories and enter a chatroom to find a bunch of fucking weirdos saying weird fucking things to one another. You were all about maximizing the amount of people you talked to online, and the best way to do that was through the chatroom.
We posted photos of each other on Facebook and liked them and commented on them—but sometimes still chatted about them on AIM.
We asked homework questions via each other’s walls.
Then Facebook came along, with all the of “only college students use it,” and we drifted there. You walk around in habitats of text, pop-up cathedrals of social language whose cornerstone is the rectangle in your pocket. (Since we didn’t have smartphones back then, its desktop-delimited-ness was self-explanatory.) You could set lengthy status messages with animated icons in them. AIM was the side of the library where everyone smoked. It was like Gchat or i Message, but you could only do it from a desktop computer.Similar to MSN Messenger, AIM was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and is remembered fondly by web users of a certain age.Though news of the 20-year-old program’s impending demise is hardly surprising, the announcement has been greeted with outpourings of nostalgia and pangs of sadness.
Basically, it was like if Reddit and Craigslist had a child. Comment sections weren’t as interactive as they are now, so trolls found a way to live a second life (if they even had a first life) in public chatrooms with their cyber friendz (yes I meant to spell that with a z).