Today marks the beginning of the end of an era. AIM, the popular instant messaging service that had been running for the last 20 years, has announced that it will be shut down. AOL says that since there are new ways for people to communicate over the internet, that the messaging service is no longer needed. AIM paved the way for how people communicated over the internet, but now that apps such as Facebook messenger, and Whatsapp exist, it made AIM an afterthought. To be quite honest, it is amazing that AIM lasted as long as it did, seeing as though it’s main rivals both shut down in recent years. MSN Messenger shut down in 2014, and Yahoo Messenger shut down in 2016, although, Yahoo did come out with another messaging service that used the same name as the previous service. 20 years is nothing to scoff at especially when it come to the internet. In a world where new memes come out every week and new apps come out every few months or so, AIM was a mainstay on the internet. AIM even had the honor of having two indie video games made about it. Emily is Away and Emily is Away 2, two games based on the premise of using AIM to converse with other characters in the game, and decisions that were made in the games determined the outcome of the games. In my personal experience with AIM, I must say, it was a little before my time, being just two years old when it came out in 1997. I do remember having my older sister try to introduce me to the concept of using the chat system to talk to and meet people all over the world. It’s moments like this that make you remember that although this story seems like it was a long time coming, what kind of a world in a technological sense would we be living in if AIM didn’t exist? It was the basis for text based messages, it was the first chat messenger that connected people from all over the world into one place. For some it may have even been an escape from the real world, if even for a short time. We still do have a little bit of time left with AIM however, Because although it was announced that it is shutting down, it will not be doing so until December 15th,2017, so for those of still wanting to have one last chat session, you only have a small amount of time left to do so.

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