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Yesterday, I came across Facebook CEO's tribute to the good old AOL messenger which introduced many of us to the use of internet chat. It was...

elating and a pretty good flashback to memory lane of my days of visiting internet cafes, with dial-on connectivity at 56k. Very frustrating experience at the time but provided opportunities to connect to new friends on the internet in far countries. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), which launched as a standalone service in 1997, introducing many of us to the joys of internet chat for the first time, is going away on Dec. 15, 2017 after 20 years on the scene. While all user data and profiles will be wiped clean, email accounts will not be affected.

This is a classic case of "Who took my cheese?" scenario as AIM's user base has been declining for years, thanks to stiff competition from modern chat services and apps like Skype, Google Chat, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and many others.

But as Mark Zuckerberg started his post with these words, "AOL Instant Messenger was a defining part of my childhood. As part of the first generation to grow up with the internet, it helped me understand internet communication intuitively and emotionally in a way that people just a few years older may have only considered intellectually" I had some goose bumps run through my body.

What struck me in his entire post was the passion for coding he shared as a young lad and went on to build stuff, his first messenger app for his dad which worked named Zucknet. Given his age at the time and being a high school kid, it struck me how late we in Africa get started on key aspects of technology to be able to compete favorably with people in advanced first-world countries. I know of coding experts who said they started coding at age four! (4). Now that's something to ponder on if you are a parent and seriously thinking about the future you are prepping your kids into. However, no time is late to start I believe.

According to the official press release, "AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed," Oath wrote. "As a result we've made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM."

Goodbye AOL messenger.


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