Much of my weird childhood and teenage years was spent using AOL Instant Messenger.
Aside from picking up the gross home telephone, AIM was the only way to stay in contact with my three friends after school. Hearing the alert sounds of my door opening (and others’ subsequently slamming) and “warning” my friends into oblivion were nightly diversions from my homework.
I religiously used AIM for six years, until I turned 15 and got my first cell phone. Then, I had a more of a covert way to talk about how much my parents were annoying me without them peering over my shoulder. Then came GChat, Facebook, Twitter, and other oversharing services that officially sealed AIM’s fate. There was no need for it anymore.
I actually forgot about it—until recently.
Last month, Caroline Moss created @YourAwayMessage. It’s a painfully accurate parody of what many of our AIM away messages probably said. The mock tweets are filled with emo song lyrics, life updates, and distress messages about the multiple ways our parents are ruining our lives (like picking up the landline phone, thus knocking AIM offline).
Clearly, I’m not the only waxing nostalgic. More than 160,000 people follow the often-hilarious account. Moss told the Daily Dot that she channels her self-described “awful” personality when thinking of the tweets. Like me, she spent hours using AIM every night, much to her parent’s disapproval, so her afflicted tweets come easy.
Yearning to relive some of my AIM memories, I caught up with Moss, 24, to discuss our favorite moments enabled by the downloadable program. She channeled her 15-year-old, high-school sophomore self—her alter-ego behind the account—and it only seemed fair for me to do the same thing, using my most embarrassing first screen name: LisaKudrowRulez35. (Friends got me through a lot of hard times, OK?)
Come relive the stupid ways you probably used AIM to impress your crushes, the poor grammar it enabled, and how the anxiety-riddled away messages came about. And, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed that you probably did these things. We’ve all been there.
On depressing song lyrics as away messages
LisaKudrowRulez35: I noticed some emo lyrics. Were you dating someone? WHAT HAPPENED?
YourAwayMessage: UGH YEAH OKAY well, itz like a long story but like okay
YourAwayMessage: so i met this guy on a cruise last summer and we hooked up, like 2nd base, but it was really intense and we definitely had this connection, there was one night on the cruise where we stayed up all nite talking and he was like telling me all about his family and like his relationship with his parents and i just felt like idk, a spark
YourAwayMessage: u no?
LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah I totally get it
YourAwayMessage: so neway he told me he luved me and he would do this thing where he would you know like, look at me
YourAwayMessage: and i felt ALIVE
LisaKudrowRulez35: does he live near you??
YourAwayMessage: so obviously now itz oct and he lives in michigan, no so we only can IM
LisaKudrowRulez35: oh thats so sad
YourAwayMessage: ya i know
YourAwayMessage: and his parents are really weird and they have parental limits on his AOL, so he only gets a half hour every night and with the time difference it just .. it just doesnt make sense right now
YourAwayMessage: idk haha sry long story but that song just like brings me back to those moments
On Myspace, AIM chatrooms, and instant messaging with random strangers
LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah, no, I totally get it, have you tried meeting any one in AIM chatrooms? that might help you get your mind off him
YourAwayMessage: so, do u do myspace?, bc me and my friends used to do chat rooms when we were younger but its just guyz looking for $ex, which is not what i want
YourAwayMessage: but i just did a myspace profile, and im not like...idk i think its weird to meet a guy on the internet he could be a killer..but its nice to know there r more fish
YourAwayMessage: even if the fish are murderers
LisaKudrowRulez35: you have to be safe about that, do you get a lot of i/ms from weirdos?
YourAwayMessage: yes but, u can just block them, or warn them, i only talk to my friends or like guys from school that are older that i know that probably dont know me, but i know who they so ill say hey
YourAwayMessage: if i feel like it
LisaKudrowRulez35: whats the weirdest person youve met in the chatrooms?
YourAwayMessage: there was a guy who kept asking, if ne ladies were horn, and i was like
YourAwayMessage: GIRLS CANT GET HORNY, they're girls, n every1 in chat rooms are always asking 4 pics
YourAwayMessage: but i havent gotten my yearbook ones back so, i just dont go in their anymore, can't contribute much.
LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah, it can be scary in there. you dont ACTUALLY know who you're talking to
YourAwayMessage: right, murderer or girls who say they are girls but are guys—so weird
On getting a separate phone line to use AIM
LisaKudrowRulez35: your mom and dad recently got a separate phone line for your aol, right?
YourAwayMessage: yah itz amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!
YourAwayMessage: i only get kicked off a few x a night now, instead of all the time
LisaKudrowRulez35: HOW ANNOYING IS IT when you leave for the day, then someone moves your mouse and it screws up your "idle" time?
YourAwayMessage: very bc, then i dont know who is talking 2 me or, if nething important happened, or, if i need 2 know something and now maybe i wont know it, bc of the aol line
YourAwayMessage: but i try to think of like, the oregon trail, they had to like...walk their letters across the country and it took forever so, we're lucky.
On crafting away messages
LisaKudrowRulez35: how do you decide what youre going to post as a status?
YourAwayMessage: depends on my mood, like, im listening to so much music at once its hard to pick lyrics
YourAwayMessage: i have a saved list of potential ones, but then sometimes im inspired to do new ones
YourAwayMessage: sometimes you can say less but use a cool font, it really depeneds, i am really into dave matthews band lately so I am trying to find their best lyrics to put up
On the imporatance of font and color
LisaKudrowRulez35: do you find colors and fonts distracting or do you change your "theme" often? my favorite was blue background and a silverish-grey font
LisaKudrowRulez35: but some fonts dont show up on my other friends computer so i had to keep it simple, like Tahoma
YourAwayMessage: gr8 question, i tend to go for small sized cute fonts like futura. because small and cute are gr8 things to be associated with.
YourAwayMessage: your font is your first impression, so guys who are white comic sans MS on a navy blue background, yeah, we get it, you love the yankees. show me something else, you know?
On her profile
LisaKudrowRulez35: what about your profile? whats in it now?
YourAwayMessage: right now itz a shout out to my best friends and then a fave quote which is a dmb song "eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die"
YourAwayMessage: and then at the bottom in smaller font it says
YourAwayMessage: which means: i miss you so much and you don't even care but i'll love you forever and that's to the guy from the cruise
LisaKudrowRulez35: did you make that up yourself?
LisaKudrowRulez35: thats really clever
On acting cool when your crush signs on
LisaKudrowRulez35: do you get nervous when crushes sign on? sometimes i set alerts, so i know right away
YourAwayMessage: yeah i have three crushes and three alerts
YourAwayMessage: moo = michigan [cruise crush], cash register = this senior guy that is hot, and doorbell = junior guy that i just started to like this morning
YourAwayMessage: its def hard to act cool but i try to stay idle until they IM me OR ill like
YourAwayMessage: ok dont tell ne1 this
YourAwayMessage: ill like block them and unblock them really fast so that their door keeps opening and shutting and then they have to see whos doing that and it MEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YourAwayMessage: and then they will IM me first, works everytime, its a good trick u should try it
LisaKudrowRulez35: OH THATS A SUCH A GOOD TRICK YES
LisaKudrowRulez35: like when I try i/m my crushes I get really nervous, whats a good thing to say to break the ice?
YourAwayMessage: do u have classes w ne of them cause u can say
YourAwayMessage: omg i hate that class (after u say hey and stuff), or u can ask if they did the hw yet, or u can ask if they like anyone serious
YourAwayMessage: theres a lot of stuff ucan say but remember if they give one word answers like
YourAwayMessage: k, yeah, sure
YourAwayMessage: it just meanz they r shy
Photo via Wackyb