With New Client, ICQ (Finally) Enters The Realtime Era. Remember ICQ? Probably not!
Of course, in my role as internet geezer, I am obligated to say that I remember ICQ, the first instant messaging service I ever registered with. I was an IRC loser at the time, chatting away for hours in the glory days of online ‘rooms’ where like-minded computer users gathered to talk about stuff (in my case, HTML! What a nerd).
ICQ removed the ‘room’ from this scenario and allowed direct, one-to-one chat via a little program that sat there in your taskbar, letting your similiarly-equipped friends know that you were online, or offline, or ‘away’, or whatever. Believe it or not, kids, ICQ was popular before Yahoo Messenger, and before MSN, and definitely before AIM and Google Talk and all the rest. And the pithy status updates now found on your Facebook and Twitter pages have been a long time coming, well-worn and practiced hard in these chat programs.
(I am particularly fond of my latest ‘away’ message, ‘extended lunch break remix’. Nerd again! Are you on Google Talk too? Leave me a message in the comments, I’ll add you.)
Anyway, ICQ itself started to look old pretty quickly, as flashy alternatives took its place, with their sensible registration processes that allowed users to identify themselves with their e-mail addresses or usernames that they chose, instead of ICQ’s numbered handles. Another thing internet geezers like me take pride in is having been there first, and my seven-digit ICQ number signals that I was a pretty early adopter – they give out eleven- and twelve-digit numbers now, I think. (Other prideful early website registrant: Metafilter, user 594 of today’s 65,000+. The t-shirt still wasn’t free.)
No one I know is still hanging out on ICQ – it’s been considered a dead network for forever, eight or nine years at a minimum. But I’m always looking for an excuse to try new online services, which is why I’ve set up at IMO, a web-based catch-all chat software that allows me to log into all of my old, dead instant messenger accounts, in the vain hope that someone I used to know will appear online for five seconds, only to have no recollection of who the hell I am and delete me from their user list.
I’m signed into ICQ from IMO, so should this latest update to their chat software stir some nostalgia for any of my fellow internet geezers who read the mighty A1 Great, look for me – I’m 2789931. Catchy handle, amirite? I’ll be looking for you, first favorite web designer Michelle, first co-op student ever Dave Ashford, domain derelict and world traveller Jody, brothers phildo and Reklaw, guy I never really knew who the hell you were ‘the Ombudsman’, new boss Uncle Jaeson, and yes, even Kyle, who you all met last week.
Am I the only one who remembers Sissyfight, too? I am so fucking OLD.