Arielle Tschinkel
October 06, 2017 9:29 am

In case there was any doubt, our childhoods are officially over, because AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down after 20 years, and that little yellow running man is going to a digital playground in the sky.

We know, you probably had no idea that AOL Instant Messenger (aka AIM) was even still a thing, but turns out it’s been plugging along all these years and, yes, we’re actually so sad about this.

Before we had Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or even MySpace, we used to pour our hearts out in our AIM away messages, but the service is officially shutting down by year’s end.

In a statement, VP of Communications Product at Oath Michael Albers wrote: “AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed. As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017. We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

Ah, yes, ’90s kids will undoubtedly remember the creaky door-shutting sound when their buddies signed off, updating their screen names and profile to include all their favorite “cool” references, and creating angsty, lyric-fueled away messages to (not-so-subtly) let their middle school crush know how they were feeling…long before the subtweet, the DM, or even the MySpace Top 8 existed.

TBH, we’re definitely a little bit in mourning right now.

Of course, there’s no shortage of ways to instant message your pals, from Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messages, WhatsApp, Twitter, and a million other messaging services, but our hearts will forever be captivated by the OG IM platform.

R.I.P., sweet AIM.

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