Gizmodo’s Obit for AIM

Gizmodo did a nostalgia post about how AIM was the first Facebook before there was even MySpace.  We used to say that all the time when I was at AOL, that we beat Twitter and MySpace/Facebook to the punch with a lot of the features users of those service love today.

It definitely brought a smile to my face to see Gizmodo praise AIM 5.x.  My favorite AIM version I worked on was AIM 5.5 on Windows, back when I still used a Windows machine.  That particular client really was close to perfect, and achieved perfection thanks to James Dennis’ DeadAIM addon that removed the Ad and added a few other key features.  CNet calls it plain, but by then we had built a nice Expression engine and had audio and video chat.

What made AIM so important back then was the away message which were as irrelevant as a lot of Tweets are today, like “In the Shower” or “I am watching Survivor.”  We used to watch our users in usability tests view each of their friends Away Messages.  It even drove us to create a simple web page where you could view all of your buddies current Away Messages and their profiles.

Ah, profiles, 1024  characters (HTML markup included) of personalized goodness.  This was MySpace years before Tom became everyone’s friend.  Profiles were so important, that when we launched the ill fated AIM Triton without profiles, I added an AIM plugin to put them back. (Props to Justin for keeping his old Running Man blog alive on Blogspot after AOL Journals was shut down.)

So while Gizmodo declares AIM dead, I think they missed the AIM Desktop death by a few years.  AIM is making a big push on being a web destination and they still have a respected mobile experience.  Hopefully AIM 5.5 can rest in peace, as the real-time communication platform moves on to what’s next.

 

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  1. Pingback: AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Obituary | Sum of the Web

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