For me, AIM is like that crossover between digital natives and the rest (is there a term?). I can remember a time before the Internet, but those online conversations and connections were hugely influential in my life during a formative time. It’s not the same for my husband, who is four years older than me. Being able to relate to that experience of digital connection—and everything that goes with it—makes me a millennial by more than just age.
I used AIM’s away status religiously and met a lot of people on AIM some of which I’m still in touch with. There were AIM directories online where you could tag your interests and see other people who shared interests with you and their screen names. One click later and you were talking to them. I traveled and stayed with people for free I met on AIM, found co-founders, friends and associates. For a de-centralized network with no face book like directory built in, it was surprisingly easy to meet new people and make friends.