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They might have a succinct description of our emotional state. That’s right: AIM was so fertile and life-giving that But status messages were just the golden filigree of the gorgeous AIM tapestry. I really mean that: As 9/11-jittered American parents were restricting access to the places where we could meet in public—the sociologist danah boyd writes about this in her book, —we had to turn to AIM. 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.

Often they consisted of the quotation of vitally important song lyrics: from The Postal Service, from Dashboard Confessional, from blink-182, from Green Day, from The Beatles (only after And then there were, sometimes concurrently with the song lyrics, the pained, cryptic, and egocentric recountings of the emotional trials of the day. Then Facebook came along, with all the of “only college students use it,” and we drifted there.

Honestly, that river has been a little scary lately.

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.

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.

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.As important as clothing or the buttons on a backpack, picking just the right song lyrics or inspirational quotes were among the most visible self-installed billboards of personal identity. and cable connections, AIM asserted itself as the dominant service of the time.It was a place to pay tribute to the senior class or to friends — who were, without fail, the best friends in the whole world. Moss’s parody account, which assumed the character of a teenage girl whose parents were sometimes just THE WORST. Despite the nostalgia on Friday, AIM had gone largely unused for years.15, a decision its parent company announced in October.Released in 1997, the program had largely faded into obscurity over the last decade, replaced by text messages, Google Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and on and on we go.

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