Your childhood is over.
AIM — AOL’s instant messaging service, which predated today’s Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, iMessage, Slack and so many other forms of chat — is officially shutting down and signing off forever on December 15, it announced Friday, after 20 years in operation.
A generation of internet users were introduced to the concept of socializing through a (desktop) screen thanks to AIM, with its iconic “Buddy List,” emo, song-lyric-laden away messages, and a minimalist profile page that let kids (and adults) craft a virtual persona full of inside jokes and Comic Sans font use. AIM was also a great place to develop a chill relationship with your middle school crush, who you could casually hit with a “Sup?” in the after-school hours.
Of course, the internet is not letting AIM die in silence. No, people are really letting their feelings out about this ending era. From the memorable sounds the app played to the screen names that defined identities to the now-ubiquitous online shorthand that it spawned (g2g! idk! brb! nm, jc! LOL), here’s how AIM is getting memorialized.