Before there was Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram messaging, or iChat, there was AIM, AOL’s instant messenger service and it was the best way for ’90s and ’00s teens to chat with friends, find like-minded Sonic the Hedgehog or Rancid fans, flirt with strangers, generally get awkward, and make all kinds of AIMemories. Since times—and technology— have changed, the service signed off for the last time on December 15, 20 years after it launched, and the internet is throwing a nostalgia-fueled wake.
Those who knew and loved the service are raiding their teenage diaries and sharing their AIM screen names and they are a delightful time capsule of wannabe cool, laugh-out-loud awkward, hindsight-is-embarrassing ’90s gems. Check out this list of classic screen names as a final away message to the service that started it all.
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