Today we say goodbye to AIM, that bastion of creativity, connectivity, and adolescent tomfoolery that helped bring so many of us into the digital age in a meaningful way. Whether you were a tech-savvy early adopter or a curious, socially awkward kid, when AOL Instant Messenger launched in 1997, there was a place for you (and your terrible screen name).
What began, they thought, as a place for business and easy communication among peers and other responsible adults quickly became a refuge for anyone seeking connection, responsible or otherwise. In the grand tradition of the Internet, the youths took over: talk to your crush. Share your latest musical muse. Use way too many colors and fonts and acronyms and confuse the hell out of your parents. And make friends. Find new bands. Learn in your bones how to really and truly connect in a global world. Thanks to AIM’s early exploits, we have apps like Slack, and Skype, and maybe even Twitter.
Paltalk drew inspiration from AIM in the early years, too, and for a long time we grew alongside each other. Today we’re sad to see a comrade go, but we can rest easy in the knowledge that much of its legacy — buddy lists, highly customizable profiles, and the venerable skill of internet stalking your crush — endures in modern social media and chat apps like us.
So, to AIM: we know you won’t BRB but we’ll say TTYL anyway. We hope you thought of a good Away Message.