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America Online

When AIM Was Our Facebook 395

Hugh Pickens writes "Gizmodo reports that there was a stretch of time in the 90s and early 00s when AOL was a social requisite. 'Everyone had an AIM handle,' write Adrian Covert and Sam Biddle. 'You didn't have to worry about who used what. Saying "what's your screenname" was tantamount to asking for someone's number — everyone owned it, everyone used it, it was simple, and it worked.' When we all finally got broadband, it was always on and your friends were always right there on your buddy list, around the clock. AIM was the first time that it felt like we had presences online, making it normal, for the first time ever, to make public what you were doing. 'Growing up with AIM, it became more than just a program we used. It turned into a culture all its own—long before we realized we'd been living it.'"

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