Online service provider AOL on Friday said it will shut its pioneering AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) on 15December. The chat program connected a generation of people to their buddies and crushes while guiding them through the early days of digital socializing.
The company reportedly has no planned replacement for the platform in the times when social apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp have taken over.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” Michael Albers, vice president of communications product at Oath, the parent company of AOL, said in a statement Friday.
AIM brought instant messaging into the mainstream by becoming one of the first chat platforms to gain widespread adoption on desktop computers, allowing users to instantly communicate with one another over the internet.
The platform was also the one to have coined shorthand lingos such as ‘lol’ for laugh out loud. AIM was particularly known for its “buddy list,” which let users know if their friends and contacts were available to chat, and being early to use emoticons in messages with its roster of built-in smiley faces.
Users on social media lamented its end, even though many have since moved to other platforms. AIM is “more of a symbol than anything else,” said Thomas Husson, an analyst with Forrester who follows emerging technology. “It’s the end of an era for the first generation of internet users.”
AIM was a dominating instant messaging platform ever since it was founded in 1997. It has battled for supremacy with rivals such as ICQ, and messengers from Yahoo and MSN. MSN Messenger shut down in 2014 and Yahoo Messenger also shut down in 2016.
Despite the nostalgia Friday, AIM had gone largely unused for years. You can still log in if you remember your password, and your buddy list remains intact, but all data will be deleted Dec. 15.
Enough said, we’ll go and check what people are upto on AIM, before its finally gone!
See you on AIM!
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