AOL Instant Messenger to Shut Down in December

AOL Instant Messenger to Shut Down in December

AOL Instant Messenger, the chat program that connected a generation to their classmates and crushes while guiding them through the early days of digital socializing, will shut down on Dec. 15, its parent company announced on Friday. “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 on Friday. For many people now in their 20s and 30s, learning to talk online coincided with learning to communicate like an adult, said Caroline Moss, 29, a writer and editor in New York who for years paid tribute to AIM with the parody Twitter account @YourAwayMessage. The chat program was a workaround for the typical clumsiness and anxiety of adolescence. Too shy to talk to the boy at his locker? You might find more courage on AIM. Those short messages were the basis of Ms. Moss’s parody account, which assumed the character of a teenage girl whose parents were sometimes just THE WORST. Though chat services predated AIM, including Internet Relay Chat (commonly known as IRC), AOL’s offering arrived at a time when the internet was rapidly spreading into more homes. Despite the nostalgia on Friday, AIM had gone largely unused for years.

Meet the CEO Whose Comments About Mental Health in the Workplace Went Viral
Twitter Chat: What’s What in Team Collaboration Apps
Twitter chat: Millennials stagger under extreme debt, but why?
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
The AOL Instant Messenger logo.

AOL Instant Messenger, the chat program that connected a generation to their classmates and crushes while guiding them through the early days of digital socializing, will shut down on Dec. 15, its parent company announced on Friday.

Released in 1997, the program had largely faded into obscurity over the last decade, replaced by text messages, Google Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and on and on we go. But at its height, AIM, as it was known, served as the social center for teenagers and young adults, the scene of deeply resonant memories and the place where people learned how to interact online.

“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 on Friday.

The news of its official demise was met with cries of nostalgia, especially from those who were coming of age as AIM rose to prominence. For many people now in their 20s and 30s, learning to talk online coincided with learning to communicate like an adult,…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This