Signing off forever. AOL announced that it is officially shutting down its instant messaging service (AIM) after 20 years on December 15. In a message titled “One Last Away Message,” posted on Tumblr on Friday, October 6, the company said the reason behind the imminent closure is due to the evolution in the way people communicate on the internet now.
“In the late 1990’s, the world had never seen anything like it,” Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath, wrote in the announcement. “And it captivated all of us.”
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” Albers continued. “As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017. We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”
Albers concluded: “Thank you to all of our AIM users. And definitely stay tuned as we’re fired up to provide more products and experiences that people around the world love.”
The official AIM Twitter account announced the end of the service by thanking fans for helping them make chat history, writing: “All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we’ll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users! #AIMemories.”
— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017
In March, AOL started blocking third-party apps from accessing the system, as users turned to other services to communicate, including iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. AIM was one of the first and most successful instant messaging services after it was launched in 1997, and it skyrocketed into popularity in the 2000s as it became a go-to medium for users to chat with each other through their desktop computers.
People are taking to social media to pay tribute to AIM. Users are reminiscing about their creative screen names, their away messages and the sounds and language they used, including ‘LOL,’ ‘BRB,’ and ‘G2G,’ in their conversations.
See some reactions to the AOL announcement below.
AOL instant messenger is shutting down?? truly a staple of my teenage years; the first time i came out to someone was through AIM. #RIPAIM
— Tyler Spookley (@tyleroakley) October 6, 2017
Today we say farewell to AOL Instant Messenger. Naturally we should all reveal our embarrassing usernames. (won’t reveal mine tho!) #RIPaim
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) October 6, 2017
All my away messages were an artistic expression of passive-aggressive angst.
Kids these days will never understand. #RIPAIM
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) October 6, 2017
AIM is dying. I’m going to put a cryptic message about my crush in my away message just for old time’s sake. #RIPAIM
— Myke (@MikeWehner) October 6, 2017
My official statement on the death of AIM: pic.twitter.com/v5XHsKljjN
— Kat Timpf (@KatTimpf) October 6, 2017
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