I might be showing my age by saying this, but do you remember those early messaging apps? Or even chat rooms? Do you remember using the phrase “ASL”, and it wasn’t to mean American Sign Language? If you can answer yes to any of those, then you are probably sad to hear that Yahoo Messenger is going to be gone soon. Yahoo made this announcement this past week, and while it’s kind of sad, at the same time it’s about time isn’t it? I mean, I have fond memories of things like ICQ, but that doesn’t mean that I should still be using it today. MSN messenger got me through college. I could talk to all of my friends whenever I wanted. I remember when a cute boy would “add” me to his list, and I can also remember getting those messages from him.
But again, my nostalgia for days gone by doesn’t necessarily make me want to use that platform again. It does remind me how far we’ve come from a technology perspective. Because – folks, I’ve only been out of college for 12 years. And while, yes, 12 years can be an eternity, it’s certainly not that long in the grand scheme of things. That said, it has got me thinking about messaging apps and how it’s shaped my life.
The thing about messaging apps is that there is something extremely personal about them. There’s also this social idea as well. They require some kind of buy-in from everyone who is using it. A chat room, for example, is a group of people coming together with a common interest, or just wanting to chat. These may have been the interface through which you experience moments of happiness, embarrassment, and even heartbreak (if you’re dating online only). Regardless of your experience with them, if you are in my age bracket, this is certainly something you can relate to.
As we got older, the apps that we were using were no longer necessary for our social development. Or at least in my case. I had all my friends, and when we started using things like cell phones, we would call or text if we wanted to get in touch with each other. It’s these kinds of acts that allow us to build and cultivate those friendships, rather than maintaining the social side of things with a few acquaintances.
Around the time I graduated from college, Facebook became the new app that everyone wanted to use. In fact, it was through Facebook Messenger that I met my ex-boyfriend. Maybe that’s another reason why I don’t like Facebook anymore. I am joking, but the truth is that it’s become a phenomenon unto itself. It quickly became the new messaging app that everyone wanted to use. That, and a platform unto itself.
And as time went on more apps became available. I’m sure you’ve got a favorite one. I know I do. But my reason for my favorite messaging app is no longer to connect with my friends, but rather to connect to one special person in my life. As we get older, we change our perception and our ways of thinking. Our wants take over and replace our needs. Those lines become blurred, but if you think far enough back to the time when you started chatting online, you will always remember your first app. I say all of this as I fondly remember Yahoo Messenger. I think I used it for a minute back in my college days. This change has given me the opportunity to walk down memory lane and remember my favorite messaging app.