thuyble (11:26:01 PM): I used to talk on the phone with my friends all the time. I would memorize their home telephone numbers and dial the numbers whenever I wanted to talk to them. Usually, I had to ask their parents or grandparents to speak with them, but it never took longer than two minutes to get a hold of them if they were home. My life was like one of those cliche movie scenes, where the girls were in their beds and had a three-way call, gossiping and giggling for hours- except my friends and I were around seven years old at the time. That was elementary school: when phones were the fastest and easiest way to connect with someone after school.
thuyble (11:28:10 PM): Then came AOL Instant Messenger.
thuyble (11:28:12 PM): Aka AIM.
thuyble (11:29:37 PM): I first heard about AIM when I was a middle schooler. At the time, I was not very exposed to computers at all. I had barely gotten used to the QWERTY layout and having to keep my both my hands on the keyboard to type just a few years prior. I’ll admit, I’m still not the fastest typist nor a very fast one in general, but it didn’t matter with instant messaging. AIM was all about having a conversation with your friends in real time over the internet from the comforts of our homes. It was user friendly, addicting, and most of all, fun- just what us kids were looking for to entertain ourselves after an 8-hour school day, five days a week.
thuyble (11:30:40 PM): Come home. Boot the computer. Wait for Windows to load. See the AIM window pop up with the unforgettable yellow running man icon. Type in my password. Click “sign-in.”
thuyble (11:30:52 PM): It was just that simple.
thuyble (11:32:11 PM): No need to pick up the telephone or memorize numbers. I no longer had to have awkward ten-second conversations with my friends’ relatives just to talk to them. All I had to do was double click on their unique, personalized screenname to open a chat window. I could see who was available via their “status,” with the exception of if they had logged on “invisible” – a feature denoted by an open or closed eyeball (I liked to use to avoid talking to specific people or if I didn’t want to be bothered by anyone). We could add up create chat rooms and talk to up to 6 people without having connectivity issues that phone lines had.
thuyble (11:32:15 PM): AIM came with a great number of other features too, like emojis, buddy lists, group chats, personalized buddy icons, profiles and away messages, wallpapers, etc. With all the tools laid out for us, it was so easy to be logged on for hours on end- or to just never log off either. We could just stay connected all the time whether or not we were “afk.”
thuyble (11:35:00 PM): AIM was at the height of electronic communication for my generation. A complete 90’s fad that lasted about a decade.
thuyble (11:37:47 PM):
thuyble (11:37:56 PM): But eventually, the “brb”s got old and the “gtg”s became more permanent. Soon, hardly anyone was using AIM anymore. We were on to the next big thing in electronic communication.
thuyble (11:39:04 PM): With the advent of integrated IMs and social media, we could always keep in touch on the go or wherever we were. The best part of all, I guess, was that we knew there was someone on the opposite end and that we didn’t have to wait for after school.