I remember when I first got into instant messaging. It was 1997, and I had just learned about ICQ, which is still around. There was AIM, and I don’t remember if Yahoo Messenger was around at that time. But ICQ offered just what I and my family members needed.

Through ICQ, I was able to connect my dad to all of his brothers and sisters, a couple of my cousins, and some friends I’d met through newsgroups. Later on, I had some friends I would talk to. We’d talk often, pretty much every night, and it was fun. Of course, ICQ tanked in a big way, but still, there are other instant messaging systems; even Facebook has one.

These days, I can’t find almost anyone who’s using instant messaging. It’s pretty much been replaced by Twitter and Facebook, and even a little bit by email. Sure, email was around back in ’97, but many friends wouldn’t use it for whatever reason.

Is instant messaging dying out, or am I just too old to have many friends who want to use it anymore? I ask that because it seems the people who say they still love instant messaging are all younger than 30. Obviously most of my friends are older. I only have one family member who still has an instant messaging account, and he’s rarely on. The friends I have accounts for almost never show up. There’s a couple of people I talk to sometimes during the day while they’re at work, and when I’m out of town my wife and I will try to have conversations through Yahoo (though I use Trillian), but that’s about it. I don’t even know anyone who uses Facebook’s instant messaging, though I’m sure there are people who do.

I also wonder if it’s why having Meebo on my business sites doesn’t seem to bring me much communications during the day when I hold office hours, which I announce on Twitter every once in awhile. I mean, one would think someone would take me up on the chance to speak to me live, but nope, doesn’t happen.

What are y’all thinking about this? Anyone else lamenting the demise of instant messaging, did you care, or have I just passed by the age where it makes sense for my friends and my business?

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