” And sometimes they got the most literal answer – “Away”… When you finally got broadband, you were always signed in, and always had an away message up. Choosing the right order of initials of your best friends to feature in your buddy profile.
And then if you left someone out they’d be sooooo mad.
So the experience of going into a chat room and getting a response a couple of seconds later from someone who was in the same chat room was just really cool.” Slowly, the service grew, expanding to support DOS and eventually Windows.
Amid the hoopla of the launch — attended, for some reason, by Jimmy Fallon and Snoop Dogg — Parker told an anecdote about meeting his business partner, Shawn Fanning, 15 years ago in a chat room, saying, “There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet.
All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know.” (MORE: Chatroulette 2.0?
Ah the carefree days before potential employers made you login to Facebook during interviews or suspended you from school for Tweets…amiright? Categorizing your friends in your buddy lists and giving the buddy lists funny names.
I think the AIM buddy profile is really where that My Space-esque, poor man’s HTML, Comic Sans marquee text in … AIM profiles were a cocktail of all My Space’s tacky, inane juices squeezed out, but again, they were personal and public. Not having to worry about choosing a professional screen name. Maybe it’s because that was before the social logins and integrations we have now.
In many ways, it was the internet’s first mainstream social network. You could make them whatever you wanted—grating, bleeding pink text on black backgrounds, sprawling links, Odyssey-length inside jokes—anything that fit within the 1024 character limit. And if you needed to say more, you could sign up for services that would trick your profile window into loading expanded profiles…As a teenager on AIM, your online persona had to be as carefully manicured as your real life one.” 6. Product geekout here – I remember AIM being very straighforward. Someone actually needed to ask you for your screenname to add you to their buddy list, and it was probably some gawdawful combination of your favorite band and your birthday or graduation year – they couldn’t just guess it like now. For many people, AIM was the first digital platform for this experience.
I can go no further on this other than to leave you with these much more eloquent and much more fully formed thoughts from Gizmodo: “AIM was also a sliver of who you were. If someone signed out, you got that loud door shut noise. Having a crush on someone and waiting for him to sign in. Even the most cynical can relate to that entire exciting, disappointing, awkward, confusing and fun thing of conversing with someone you like online.
Two weeks ago, the internet unanimously barely blinked its eyes with the news that AOL had chosen to kill off AIM, the once-prominent instant messaging service.
Outside of maintainence, the application’s 40 employees in charge of development have been let go. I mean, really: AIM was kind of like our first social network.
But what, exactly, happen to the chat rooms Parker so fondly remembers?