My Days with AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)

Anyone remember the days of AOL Instant Messenger? Those were the early days of the internet when the word “instant” had new meaning on the web. You were “cool” if you made someone else’s friend list since the service only allowed 250 usernames. You were even cooler if you were in the Favorites group because you were always on top of the list whenever you came online. Plus, you were only able to have 30 favorites. And of course, when you had too many friends, you started purging your list starting with usernames who never came online, or you started a new username and gave it out to your friends like free candy at a candy store.
I remember all the different usernames I had when I used the service: rainier1739, aznph13pnoi1, rainierakarain.
Chatting and typing was very different; it was a feature in itself. GiRlS wHo WeRe So cOoOL wOuLD tYpE LiKe ThIs AlL thRouGhOuT tHe CoNVseRsaTiOn (you have no idea how long it took me to type that). Those were the days of brb, lol, and afk. As a geek, I had to find a way to make chatting online more unique. I remember installing AIM+ which removed the ads and gave you a bunch of features in the program that you wouldn’t find traditionally. I even remember installing a plugin that would type my font in a colorful gradient rainbow (which would normally take forever to do by hand).
Anyone remember the “Warning” feature? If your friend did something dumb or chatted in profanity, you could “warn” them which would prevent the number of chats you could enter into the screen. They would have to wait until the program could allow them to type again. Eventually, it wore off and the warning would go away. I remember one time, my friend would use different usernames and warn me to 100% just to push my buttons and piss me off. Nevertheless, it was all in good fun.
It’s funny how the next generation will never know some of the excitement we had growing up with the early days of the internet. These days, I find my brother on Skype with his friends, but they are talking, literally with a microphone. They can even share their desktop screen and comment on each other such as playing a video game. They will never know how our early years tied up the phone line just so we could chat to several people at the same time.

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