Find a person with aim screename

The yellow sticky notes indicate away messages. To see profiles, you had to click on each screen name one by one.

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When I started college in late , though, everyone I met seemed to have an AOL "screen name," which by that point didn't require a paid AOL account. Sharing that screen name became more common than sharing a phone number when meeting someone new, and AIM quickly became the default way to talk to people when you didn't want to pick up the phone which, for me, was most of the time.

It's hard to remember now just how freeing it was to be able to communicate instantly without the formality of an actual phone call.

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Carrying on multiple conversations at once, multitasking between chatting and "surfing the web," and pausing long enough to compose well-thought replies but not so long that the recipient began to worry were all brave new frontiers in communication through a much-too-heavy CRT monitor. Users with Away Messages up appeared with a little yellow sticky note next to their screen names on AIM's "Buddy List," showing that they were online but not actually around.

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If you sent a message to someone with an Away Message up, you'd get an instant response notifying you of that fact. You could also set up an Away Message to go up automatically if your computer was idle for too long, in case you stepped away from the computer without thinking.

Away Messages could be customized for the situation and saved for later use.


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A lot of the early Away Message use in my group of friends was merely functional: "Away at class," or "I'm asleep," or "I'm hanging out down the hall, come join us! If you really wanted to get creative with your online persona, though, you had to dive into your AIM profile.

This was where you could post text and links that were a little more permanent than an Away Message and available whenever the account was online which was more-or-less all the time, thanks the brave new world of the campus' broadband network. Seeing a user's profile took a little more work than seeing an Away Message, though; you had to right-click on the username and choose "View Profile" to bring them up one by one this menu option also let you view the details of an Away Message without having to send an actual message.

Tweets About Old AIM Screen Names Are So Funny You'll Forget AIM Is Gone For Good

While some people kept their profiles unedited for years, many used it as a Twitter-like running diary. One of my friends kept a constantly updated "Thought of the Day" with one-liners picked from overheard quotes and remembered readings. Some used it to post shout-outs to best friends or throw passive-aggressive shade against some unnamed member of the group but you knew who they were talking about. I often used the space to link to recent photos taken with my first digital camera or game reviews and stories I had published in the student newspaper.

Overuse of fancy fonts, colors, and emoticons turned plenty of AIM profiles into crimes against graphic design.

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For much of college, the first thing I would do when I sat down at the computer was go down my AIM friends list and check the profiles and Away Messages to see what was new with everyone. Scanning through profile pages became an easy way to procrastinate when writing a dull paper late at night, presaging the compulsion of scanning Twitter to distract from any sort of boredom though there was no easy way to quickly figure out which AIM profiles had been updated, meaning you re-read plenty of "old" updates.

Tweets About Old AIM Screen Names Are So Funny You'll Forget AIM Is Gone For Good

Well before Facebook-stalking was a thing, "profile stalking" became slang in my group of friends for any Instant Messenger contact that you didn't talk to but checked up on through the "View Profile" menu. My parents eventually used my frequent profile updates as a sign that I was alive when I hadn't bothered to call home in a few days. The most striking thing about the profile page, though, was how ephemeral it all was.


  1. PSA: Don’t share your old AIM screen name – TechCrunch.
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  8. With limited space to work with, posting something new in your profile usually meant deleting something old there was even a brief trend of people using "SubProfile" software to slightly expand their profile posting space. I do not blame you, but I will warn you.

    Sharing old credentials online is a bad idea. From a security perspective, old AOL logins are a potential goldmine of personal details for anyone trying to hack your accounts. All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we'll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users!