Before cell phones and smart phones, most people logged onto America Online to access the Internet. Instant messaging was a new idea, that excited the younger generation of teens and college students. Finally, there was a way that you could talk to someone in an instant.
AOL’s longtime instant messenger, AIM, is finally going dark on December 15. AIM was launched in 1997, and lasted 20 years. Its membership peaked in the 2000s, as it was revolutionary for messaging people quickly.
AIM revolutionized instant messaging, finally providing a way for people to carry on instant communications all the time. The most mentioned “uses” on social media were for chatting between friends in high school and college.
In March, AOL denied access to AIM from third-party clients, so the shutdown is disappointing but inevitable. Many fans took to Twitter through the hashtag, #AIMemories.
While AIM will be greatly missed, there are plenty of newer options for instant messaging. Some of the most popular include Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook Messenger has made instant messaging even easier, as there is no need for a phone number or user ID. You simply type your friend’s name and chat away.
There also has been an increase in snapchat use. It can be used for messaging, and it allows the user to see if the recipient has viewed the message. Snapchat and Facebook Messenger have also incorporated video calls into their applications.
Competitors of AIM include MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. MSN shut down its application in 2014, and Yahoo called it quits last year. Yahoo did supply a new alternative for instant messaging. It was simply a matter of time before AOL did the same. AOL also has zero plans to include a new messaging system to replace AIM.
While AIM is gone, AOL still provides a way to message through their browser. To use their browser, it requires a paid subscription for full features. You may just want to stick to Google Chrome or Safari.
GIF courtesy of AOL.