So long, MSN Messenger and thanks for all the memories.By Editor
It was 1999. Britney had just dropped her debut single; a Charizard shiny was the most valuable thing a child could own, and Haley Joel Osment was seeing dead people (and not looking so weird). What a time to be alive, right?
But how did we discuss these pop culture gems during this time? Well, before the days of Myspace, and well before Facebook, the youth of Britain used a chat service known as MSN, which was wonderful.
• Creating beautiful usernames that generally involved superb pop punk lyrics that were aimed at someone you fancied, or a witty line from a Tarantino film that your mates would appreciate. Sometimes people used their own names, but they were generally considered outcasts. (One time I decided that I would do an A-Z of The Matrix during the buildup to the 2003 sequel - that's 26 days of Matrix-related facts and trivia. Am I embarrassed? Yes. Do I regret it? Kinda of.)
• Appearing as ‘busy’ or ‘offline’ so that you didn’t have to speak to those lame people who would start conversations and not know how to hold a chat room yak. God knows how these people communicated in real life.
• Having the power to block people, which made you feel Godly. Side thought: I sure hope no one ever blocked me.
And most importantly:
• Signing in and out repeatedly until you felt satisfied everyone knew you were online.
However, after 15 years of a service, the messenger client is coming to a close. That’s right, even though there were allegedly as many as 330 million users in 2009, it’s game over.
BBC technology reporter, Dave Lee, in his obituary said of MSN Messenger:
“It touched the lives of millions of teenagers who, in an age before real social networking, were just getting accustomed to what it was like to live on the internet.
MSN Messenger heralded a new era: a time when chatting up a classmate no longer meant the terrifying prospect of actually having to say something to them.”
So goodbye, MSN. You provided a method in which we could speak to our friends after school for many years. And one in which we could express ourselves in the most retrospectively embarrassing ways imaginable.
We’ll never forget you.