There will be no BRB – AOL Instant Messenger is no more.
A once-popular program that served as the first internet messenger application for many self-described ’90s- and 2000s-kids, AIM officially ceased operation Friday after 20 years of functionality.
News of the planned shutdown brought about waves of nostalgia when it was announced in October. Many used Twitter to mourn the dying app at the time.
The app was again memorialized fondly in the media as it was laid to rest Friday. Vox examined AIM’s cultural impact, with Aja Romano writing, “AIM entered an entire generation’s lives as part of the internet’s great cultural osmosis,” and that it was “a tiny but fundamental, hugely influential piece of nostalgic internet software that helped shape the internet as we know it today.”
Many other stories included “RIP”s and asked for moments of silence.
AOL Inc. has no plans to replace the product with another instant messenger app, according to its website. “As we move forward, all of us at AOL (now Oath) are excited to continue bringing you new, iconic products and experiences,” an article on the site explaining the shutdown says.
AIM’s decline has been years in the making, undoubtedly sped up by the arrival of social media. In March 2012, the AIM employee staff was “eviscerated” – new developments stopped and only support staff remained, The New York Times reported at the time.
And so arrives yet another bittersweet moment for generations of internet chatters who recall walls of internet slang, querying “A/S/L?” (age/sex/location) and, of course, embarrassing screen names from their adolescence. Messaging options like texting, Facebook and Snapchat will have to do, for now.