Eventually Facebook had its own chat product too, and it made more sense to use that, or Gchat, or to just text. “AIM is signing off for the last time,” said the product team in a tweet on Friday.And then we graduated from high school, and some of us moved far away, and as mobile semi-adults spread across campus, AIM didn’t make logistical sense anymore. “Thanks to our buddies for making chat history with us!Talkomatic: Just look at the earliest, successful forerunner to online chat — a program that academics invented, almost by accident, long before the birth of the World Wide Web.
They might have a succinct description of our emotional state. That’s right: AIM was so fertile and life-giving that But status messages were just the golden filigree of the gorgeous AIM tapestry. I really mean that: As 9/11-jittered American parents were restricting access to the places where we could meet in public—the sociologist danah boyd writes about this in her book, —we had to turn to AIM. We made our first attempts, on AIM, of transfiguring our mysterious and unpredictable thoughts into lively and personable textual performances. We invented our online selves—we invented ourselves. Myspace and Xanga helped us set up temporary and ramshackle museums of our tastes.PLATO had been designed for classroom use; according to its creators’ original plans, “communication between people would play [only] an incidental role.” But as more people signed on to the community, its participants began to notice something striking: In the freewheeling, pseudonymous realm of PLATO, people began to form highly personal, social connections that had nothing to do with academics. “People met and got acquainted in Talkomatic, and carried on romances via “term-talk” and Personal Notes,” one of its creators, David Woolley, wrote in his 1994 history of the program. Many people traveled to Urbana to see the lab and meet those of us who worked there …Over the years, PLATO has affected many lives in profound ways.” Dewey describes the subsequent evolution of online chat, from Compu Serve’s CB Simulator, to chatrooms on AOL, Prodigy, and Yahoo, and the proliferation of instant messaging services, populated by teenagers, technophiles, and stay-at-home moms. A space that was once a frontier was being standardized, monetized – colonized by moms.Facebook has turned that on its head: “By constricting our online selves to our offline identities, Facebook obliterated the infinite possibilities, and the intimate, interest-based communities, of the social Web.” Dewey quotes Kyle Chayka from Gizmodo: “We’re tired of being told what to do, what to see, and how to interact online by platforms that resemble rat mazes more than sandboxes…Like artisanal hipster nostalgia for a time when men were men, shoes were handmade, and everyone pickled their own vegetables, the internet’s vanguard is pushing for a return toward a simpler digital era.” In this vein falls the minimalist social network Ello, and the really, really stripped down Tilde.