by Kevin Coupe

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), which was released in 1997 and served as the progenitor for text messaging - as well as Google Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat - is being shut down on December 15, the company announced.

While the service has “faded into obscurity,” the New York Times reports, at its height AIM “served as the social center for teenagers and young adults, the scene of deeply resonant memories and the place where people learned how to interact online.”

The Times writes that “the news of its official demise was met with cries of nostalgia, especially from those who were coming of age as AIM rose to prominence. For many people now in their 20s and 30s, learning to talk online coincided with learning to communicate like an adult … The chat program was a workaround for the typical clumsiness and anxiety of adolescence. Too shy to talk to the boy at his locker? You could go home and chat with him for hours. Scared of inviting the girl to homecoming? You might find more courage on AIM.”

But to everything, there is a season.

Turn, turn, turn.

Unless, of course, you do something to prevent fading into obscurity. It seems to me that irrelevance is not inevitable … unless, of course, you don’t pay attention to how consumers are changing, how technology is changing, and how the competition is changing.

It is an Eye-Opener.