A Decade of Instant Messaging

In May 1997 marked the introduction of a tiny little instant messenger called AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). And by the change of the century, was the beginning of an online generation. Before the introduction of chat engines such as AIM, people would pick up the phone to call. Online chatting changed this forever.

From the early AIM, users are allowed to post brief profiles linked to their user names, places where they could describe themselves, post favorite quotes or write shout outs. These profiles were the first step toward an online culture that would take on the world by storm. As soon as AIM took off, corporations such as Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google are fully aware that online communication was the way of the future. As soon as users could begin forming online identities, sites like Myspace, Friendster and Xanga began to take off. As the years went by, it did not take long for these sites to begin incorporating chats, photo albums and personal page on which users could post. These were all the small steps toward what we know today as social media.

These companies were merely testing the market of what was to come in the new era of information, Facebook was born and quickly become on of the crowd and changed almost everything.

Once Facebook entered the scene, all other interfaces quickly plateaued. Although the culture of online chatting does not change much as it age, status updates became such a part of our online culture that Twitter emerged as one giant status site. Now users are communicating in posts containing less than 140 characters, waiting patiently for someone to reply or repost (retweet). These does not change the culture much since AIM started its debute.

Humans are social creatures by nature, and with technology increasing on a daily basis, we find ourselves with more and more outlets in which to be social. Basic communication via chat services such as AIM lit a fire beneath many people, a fire that raised demand for more and more social media. Today clients such as TweetDeck gained a significant amount of profit because they consolidate some of the numerous ways in which we communicate with one another, ways that date back to the advent of instant messaging in the late nineties.

Since it all started in 1997, social media has evolved from the early throws of instant messages. We now get notifications instantly sent to our phones and we reply just as quickly. Although culture does not change much, technology has ease the way people communicate and receive updates on anything that they have in interest, and give a huge leap toward effectiveness and efficiency.

Last decade, no one has ever imagined the immense growth and popularity of social communication via social media sites could have become. And today, no one can ever imagine what will possibly happen in the next decade. Our culture as a social creature will not change, but the technology that aids it will become our future.