AOL Instant Messenger officially ends 20-year-long service

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American Online (AOL) Instant Messenger (AIM) Friday officially shut down its 20-year-long online chatting service, closing an era for those whose grew up during the turn of the century and connected with their friends and families via the pioneer program.

Users who visit now are redirected to a support page with a detailed account of its demise.

Launched in 1997, AIM helped World Wide Web users to establish a worldwide connection with their friends and families via their desktop computers, which offered a platform for them to cross geographical borders and freely express themselves online with interesting screen names, emotional lyrics and colorful fonts in their profiles.

AIM was the first generation of online chat app that dominated the Internet online chatting service for most the time before similar replacement like Facebook that created innovative social networks and messaging applications, which ultimately helped displace the erstwhile pioneer in the world, especially in North America.

AIM was created by AOL Inc. in May 1997 and at one time had the largest share of the instant messaging market, about 52 percent, in North America, especially in the United States.

Despite the AIM’s discontinued service, many AIM fans eulogized it with hashtags on Twitter to recall their unforgettable experience with the program.

Twitter user Nick Kraynok said: “I can’t believe today is the end of AOL Instant Messenger! Back before texting, this was the app to use and the place to be! So long Buddy List from high school and college! So long away messages! Also can’t believe it was around for 20 years.”

Another user Jeff J. twitted: “RIP, AOL Instant Messenger. The pioneer of the group chats, social media and other forms of peer-to-peer communication we have today.”

“I remember using AIM my freshman year to stay connected with my high school friends and spending hours upon hours talking with my boyfriend who went to school in another state,” an AMI fan recalled.

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