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AIM was the destination to regroup after school, to debrief the day's drama one-on-one and conspire about crushes. Behind the safe, new anonymity, everyone was exploring online, friends and strangers poured their hearts out.Amid piles of homework and overprotective parents, AIM was the frontier adults didn't understand, and ergo the place for teenagers stuck at home to congregate.But around 2010 AIM's popularity started to decline. Now the OG of instant messaging apps is being put out to pasture. But first the Engadget staff wanted to give it a proper send off.The news of AIM's demise initially brought on a moment of nostalgia and a twinge of sadness.Eventually, I settled on "bokunotenken," a reference to the anime series .Once AIM launched as a separate app in 1997, it became more useful as a way to chat with people across the web, no matter their ISP.Those of us who experience high school and college in a world before Twitter, Facebook and, yes, Gmail, Instant Messenger was how we kept up with friends after class and well into the night.We made friends from across the globe, and a few of us even found love.

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These were people I never met in person, but I still somehow ended up spending hours chatting with them about anime, video games and the ennui of being a '90s kid.And let's not forget the remarkably uninspiring quotes that I felt meant something at the time.The away message really captured who we were at the time or at least who we wanted to be, neither of which was great in most cases.Away messages ended up functioning as a sort of proto-Twitter — a way to broadcast our moods and interests at a whim.While my school was home to an early social network, Planworld, AIM captured the pulse of campus conversation in real time.

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