AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM) is shutting down on December 15 after 20 years of service. AOL gave most of us a taste of a social life before Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I was more of a Yahoo Messenger fan by the way.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” writes Michael Albers, communications products VP at Oath (the Verizon behemoth that consumed AOL).
AOL hinted at this shutdown months before today, in March when they cut off all third party chat-clients. Despite their hints it’s hard to believe people still use the service. Don’t get me wrong, AOL was a powerhouse during its time. It served as a quick alternative way of communicating when a phone call isn’t available. It served that purpose successfully through the 90s and 2000s.
With the introduction of smartphones and its features, the future of instant messaging was numbered. Text Messaging, being one of the best features of smartphones, is a much faster and more convenient form of communication. Imagine being able to do what instant messaging offers, but from the palm of your hands while on-the-go. That is the exact reason why AOL’s AIM is shutting down. Despite the ending of this instant messaging service, it outlasted two of its competitors (MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger).
This can’t be it; I refuse to accept this is goodbye for AOL’s Instant Messenger. Knowing how recyclable and fast-growing technology is, I’m almost positive we have not heard the last of AIM. Instead it will resurface in a technology forward way and reintroduced to society. The question is, when that day comes, will we love it?