We’ve heard nostalgia cries after AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) announced that they will be logging off for good on December 15. They may be bringing with them half our childhood, but surely, the instant messaging pioneer will remain in our hearts.
AIM was a true Trailblazer
AIM might be the Facebook Messenger of the 90s. It was where most of the juiciest buzzes were born; whether it was where you asked your date to prom, or where your first romantic relationship ended. AIM was there when adults today were living the best times of their lives – or worst times (depending on your teen years).
The instant messaging app, AOL or America Online, was released in May 1997 for Microsoft Windows. During its height, AOL had the largest share of the instant messaging market, especially in North America. Most users of AIM were teens, who by that time, looked forward to going home after classes to chat on it.
For decades, AOL dominated the online chat market until technology evolved, which allowed for other competing apps to infiltrate the virtual world. After idling for years, AIM finally calls it quits.
“We know there are so many loyal fans who have used AIM for decades; and we loved working and building the first chat app of its kind since 1997,” AOL wrote on the AIM help page. “Our focus will always be on providing the kind of innovative experiences consumers want. We’re more excited than ever to focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products.”
Despite the gloom from AIM’s farewell bid, we can never forget how the app revolutionized our way of communicating. Especially for shy kids, during its peak, the app became the voice of the introverts. Many of them had the courage to reach out to others through instant messaging, where you can edit your thoughts before you hit send. AIM is also the app behind the iconic Away Messages, where today’s modern tweets and Facebook statuses got the idea.
AOL’s downfall began when the app failed to figure out their mobile shift. During that time, Google’s GChat and Facebook were taking over the market. From being valued at $224 billion, it collapsed to just $4.4 billion when it was sold to Verizon in 2015.
For the AIM advocates, the online messaging app helped them get through their awkward teen life, where communicating requires substantial nerves. For some people, it taught them to reach out to others, build relationships, and express what they feel minus the debilitating anxiety. For those other half, AIM played a large role in their fun and colorful juvenile years.
Those who have an AIM account can still log in until December 15 if they wish to download any remaining memorabilia in the form of photos, or conversation threads. Until then, all data on the platform will be deleted, including your obnoxious screen names. We guess, it’ll be a bittersweet departure for our loved messaging app. Still, thank you, AIM. Good bye for now.
Watch this video for an in-depth view of AOL, its impact on the Internet, and its problems maintaining dominance: