If you were a teenager in the early-to-mid 2000s with an internet connection, chances are your social life depended on a little instant messaging platform called AIM. AOL's claim to fame among young millennials was their (now drastically outdated) IM platform, with its iconic chat sounds and singular features like colorful text and intricate away messages.
It does not seem like an exaggeration to say that current messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or even Tinder would not be the same without AIM, at least insofar as how familiar most people are now with the concept of chatting online. But it has been years, and in fact almost a decade, since AIM was really a thing. So Friday, AOL announced that it will finally kill off its once popular platform come December.
"In the late 1990s, the world had never seen anything like this," Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath, the company that owns AOL, said in a statement. "And it captivated all of us. AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed." (What an understatement.)
Whatever your favorite part of AIM was—the unbelievably important away messages, chatting with SmarterChild when you were bored out of your mind, whatever carefully curated system you invented to organize your buddy list, that iconic little amorphous yellow man logo, or logging in and out to get your crush’s attention—you can bet your ass you miss that much simpler time, even if only a little bit.
Even if most of us have not used AIM for the better part of a decade, we can still be sad that the platform that taught us to be passive aggressive with our emo away messages is dying.
~~**dOn't CRy bECausE iT's over, SMiLe bEcaUSe it haPpeNEd*~*~ ;) https://t.co/utKMdQvwjY— Cate Domino (@CateDomino) October 6, 2017
Is it weird that I haven’t used this service in almost a decade but I still find myself profoundly sad? https://t.co/whnM0RAqPg— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) October 6, 2017
leaving a big, elaborate and infinitely emo away message-sized hole in my heart https://t.co/dc95DP1aQn— Rebecca Ungarino (@ungarino) October 6, 2017
But one of the best, and most excruciating, parts of AIM was pinning down a fire username. Although the usernames sound dumb as all hell from where we stand now, they did mean something to all of us back then. Which is why Twitter users are taking to the social media platform to eulogize their past online lives via their usernames.
What was your AIM screen name growing up? I’ll start: ashiebabiex0 pic.twitter.com/S3WFEuA2Kv— Ashley Zlatopolsky (@ashley_detroit) October 6, 2017
oMgiTzKaTxOx— kat (@OHMYGODitsKAT) October 6, 2017
Man. Farewell to my old AIM name, fastkid190. 😢 https://t.co/Chra8W3utZ— Joeneal (@TxfricnAmericn) October 6, 2017
My first AIM screenname was “insanemonkey2007” because I was extremely normal. https://t.co/o0UFuwJX2U— Charlie Rybak (@charlierybak) October 6, 2017
RIP my kewl middle school screen name: QTcaitlin87 https://t.co/p3T91Bf6z8— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) October 6, 2017
Farewell, ponyprincess141 https://t.co/vJmWQhBYi8— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) October 6, 2017
My AIM username was dramaboy70 which is surprisingly still on brand for me??— Carlos Garcia (@CarlosReports) October 6, 2017
I believe my screen name was guitarhero3029 https://t.co/VG8ekpWBwu— Shane Sullivan (@ShaneSully) October 6, 2017
This is a sad moment. Middle school wouldn't have been the same without it! RIP angelbaby0800 (my first screenname embarrassingly enough 😂) https://t.co/Qjl28JhkUW— Natalie Gerke (@Ngerke) October 6, 2017
if you cringe thinking about your first AIM username, you did it right. https://t.co/glh3mxOtKL— britt👽 (@brittschneiderr) October 6, 2017
Just imagine what the eulogies will be like when Twitter dies...