(CNN) AOL Instant Messenger is about to put up an away message forever.
AIM will officially shut down on December 15 after 20 years in service, its parent company announced Friday. The news marks the end of an era for anyone who came of age with the internet in the late 90s and early 2000s.
When AIM launched in 1997, using the World Wide Web required a desktop computer with a clunky dial-up connection that tied up the phone lines. Perhaps more than any other product, AIM helped establish the internet as a place to hang out rather than being a simple utility.