What is Aim 6?

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

What is aim 6

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was an instant messaging program that exploded beyond its creators’ wildest dreams. By 2000, it had 61 million users and a commanding 52 percent share of the North American instant messaging market. AIM pioneered many of the features that would become standard across instant messaging programs, including status and away messages and a system that allowed users to display their Buddy Lists on their websites.

It also introduced chatbots, automated programs that could answer questions and send information. These bots, which were designed to relate to kids and teenagers, became a fixture in AIM and other instant messaging services. Some, like StudyBuddy and AIMOffline, helped students study for tests or reminded them to take their medications. Others, like AIMdroid and DoorManBot, acted as security tools that alerted users to suspicious activity.

But AIM’s most important contribution to the internet may have been allowing teens to mold it into an extension of their own identities. In an interview with the video game website Kotaku, curator of the Queer Digital History Project Avery Dame-Griff cited Secret Little Haven, an indie video game from Victoria Dominowski, as one that exemplified this aspect of the platform. The game follows Alex, a young teen who must navigate the expectations of school friends, family and strangers while pinging between chat windows on AIM.

Unlike AOL’s core service, which was walled off and paid for by customers, AIM was free, and its open source code led to the development of similar instant messaging programs, including ICQ and the now-defunct MSN Messenger. AIM’s success invigorated the entire online community, and even today, traces of it remain embedded in modern social media platforms such as Slack and Facebook Messenger.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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