AOL Instant Messenger launched without fanfare in May of 1997, the brainchild of developers Barry Appelman, Eric Bosco and Jerry Harris. In a 2014 history of the text-messaging platform that appeared in Mashable, AIM was released without the permission of higher-ups, and was offered free to subscribers -- unlike other services fee-happy AOL always charged for. Those days of casual chatting officially end Dec. 15, 2017, although innovations by Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and Facebook made it obsolete long ago.
20th century messaging logs off:
- AIM helped make the internet a place to just hang out. It even prompted pop-culture cameos in Hollywood’s “You’ve Got Mail” and television’s “Sex and the City.”
- “AIM taught me how to LOL, and the subtle difference between ROFL and ROFLMAO. I was always brb-ing, and always jk'ing," David Pierce wrote in Wired after the announcement.
- If you still know your AIM password, you can download your old chat logs. Go to aol.com to find out how, before they’re deleted Dec. 15.