At the end of 2017, AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) was discontinued. Synonymous with the beginning usage of the internet by my generation as teenagers, it was the start of many people's interest of using a computer, every single day. This was over 20 years ago for me when I started using AIM. 

The abbreviation ASL was understood by everyone in the chatroom. Random strangers would start conversations with you without knowing anything about you except for your screen name. And then they hope that judging by your screen name, they could guess your gender. Sometimes, I'd get it wrong. Now, thinking about it makes me laugh! 

Filled with young people who couldn't drive, had strict parents or didn't know how to socialize well in person, AIM and the AOL chatrooms were their haven to express themselves without fear of being judged. This was where I learned how to talk 'ghetto', even though my English was proper and I knew my grammar. It started an interesting culture of people that carried on to outside the chat box too. 

People could meet other people from different countries without having to use a phone! This was huge back then. Today we use a phone for everything!  People would end up sitting down on their computers just to chat for hours. I know I did it. I created my very first website as a teenager (using a template, of course) because I wanted to have a way to share my pictures to people I would meet in the AOL chat room. Doesn't that sound pathetic? Of course I don't do that any more! It's been decades but to think what started it all; I could only think of AOL. 

AOL and AIM were the prequel to Facebook and Facebook messenger, by decades. In some ways they are so different but similar at the same time. It's funny to me how every once in awhile I'll think about AOL and try to remember what my screen name was. It was so long ago and I've forgotten. Do you remember yours? 

I know many of my friends also ended up meeting people they met in the chat room in person! Most of the time, the girl gets disappointed and ended up not talking to that person any more after meeting them. There have been a few success stories but they are really rare. 

I found out that they started AIM Phoenix and that if you want, you can sign up and create an account using the same screen name that you used for the old AIM, if it hasn't been claimed yet. Who knows, maybe this AIM Phoenix will replace Facebook. The world may never know.

And for you younglings, the ASL abbreviation I mentioned about stood for Age, Sex, Location. There, you have it.