On Friday, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) logged off for the last time ever.
I haven’t used AOL messenger since half my lifetime ago, but that news stung.
The news that my go-to social media in middle and early high school was dead. This was the days before MySpace, Facebook, smart phones, and even texting.
I would leave school, go home, log in to AIM and start chatting with my friends on the home desktop until someone else needed the internet/computer.
Nothing compared to the thrill of hearing your friends log on, and seeing their chat window open in the corner. I logged in hours and hours of conversation on AIM. I spent WAY too much time designing my away message with the perfect combination of colors, fonts, and cheesy quotes
I even printed some out at one point and recently found them. The conversations were as embarrassing as our screen names, but they were a part of our adolescence. A part that is now dead.
This news shocked me because I felt old. I realized how many years ago that was. Was I really that old? Was I so old that the programs I used as a teen are already outdated? (I teach teenagers now, and I can attest that I understand only about half of what’s going on in their lives, so, yes, I’m outdated.)
The years just went by too fast. Saying goodbye to my youth is a hard process. It’s not as simple as blowing out the ever-growing number of candles. Growing older is made up of a thousand little moments and realizations, like AIM dying and discovering teenagers don’t know who Tom Hanks is.
Thank you, AIM, for filling my youth with social interaction, excitement, and conversation.