Remember When AIM Was Everything?
By Erica Gossett (Intern)
Think back to your first encounter with social media. Did you think it at the time that it would turn into a cultural phenomenon?
If you’re a millennial, your first encounter with social media was likely with AIM, an online chat service that let users have live conversations with their friends. Remember when you would “IM” your friends before you were allowed to have a cell phone? I’ll admit, I was an AIM addict back in elementary school, but at least I can thank AIM for my superior typing skills that now allow me to type essays with my eyes closed.
Urban dictionary described AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) as, “A horrid program that people are forced to use in order to communicate on the internet due to the fact all others are worse.” While AIM created poor grammar skills, it also created many lingos we still use today via text message (LOL, BRB!)
Nothing was worse than trying to reach your friend via AIM and finding that their away message was on. But let’s face it; the best aspect of AIM was the feature that let you click on an “eye button” that made you invisible to all AIM buddies. (We all used this feature to appear offline to select individuals we didn’t want to chat with). Perfecting your AIM profile was also a necessity: the colors, font and pictures had to outshine other users. Finding out an AIM buddy copied your masterpiece was probably the worst part of your day.
It seems that since the creation of Facebook chat, AIM has decreased in popularity and is practically extinct. I don’t know a single soul that still uses AIM to chat with their friends and personally, I rarely use Facebook chat anymore to communicate with friends. Facebook chat seems to be used among individuals that have not exchanged cell phone numbers or are too lazy to send each other a text message. Although, it does come in handy for college students that want to fool their teachers that they’re typing up notes in class. Facebook chat also lets you see the time and date that someone read your message, unless you click out of the text box while the message is blinking (a skill that many of us have learned).
Many teens are supposedly now abandoning Facebook since it’s been overtaken by older generations. Chat services seem to be dying among the young crowd, thanks to texting, OTT messaging and Snapchat. It’s only a matter of time until sending a selfie that can only be viewed for 8 seconds becomes a thing of the past too.