Instant messaging, once a special thrill, now sets the texture of our common life. So AIM, my old buddy, don’t feel bad if you see us shedding a tear. For we’ll see you waving from such great heights—“Come down now,” we’ll say.But everything looks perfect from far away.“Come down now,” but you’ll stay.
And then there were, sometimes concurrently with the song lyrics, the pained, cryptic, and egocentric recountings of the emotional trials of the day. We made our first attempts, on AIM, of transfiguring our mysterious and unpredictable thoughts into lively and personable textual performances. We invented our online selves—we invented ourselves. Myspace and Xanga helped us set up temporary and ramshackle museums of our tastes.
Our usernames, laden with Harry Potter and Hot Topic references, were kind of embarrassing anyway. ”AIM showed us how to live online, for good and for ill.
We got bored with the sweet and secret internet of our youth, and we began the hard adult work of building our personal brands, watching prestige television, and purchasing different forms of financial insurance (renter’s, medical, dental, life). We all live our whole lives in text chains and group threads now.
Eventually Facebook had its own chat product too, and it made more sense to use that, or Gchat, or to just text. “AIM is signing off for the last time,” said the product team in a tweet on Friday.
And then we graduated from high school, and some of us moved far away, and as mobile semi-adults spread across campus, AIM didn’t make logistical sense anymore. “Thanks to our buddies for making chat history with us!