AOL Instant Messenger, the chat program that connected a generation to their classmates and crushes while guiding them through the early days of digital socializing, will shut down on Dec. 15, its parent company announced on Friday.
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. But at its height, AIM, as it was known, served as the social center for teenagers and young adults, the scene of deeply resonant memories and the place where people learned how to interact online.
R.I.P. AIM, 1997-2017
An Internet era will end Dec. 15 when AIM, the instant messaging program started in 1997 by AOL, will sign off permanently.
The service is stopping because the “way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed, ” wrote Michael Albers, vice president of communications product at AOL parent company Oath, in a blog post Friday.