Once the dominant force in digital messaging and a source of innovations other companies spun off into billions of dollars of businesses, AIM is now mostly dormant.Mashable sat down with three of the early engineers of the program to learn about its origins, why AOL never quite embraced the concept of a free messaging service, getting hacked by Microsoft and the features that never quite made it to users. It had risen above competitors in Prodigy and Compu Serve to become the dominant Internet service provider for American households.Usenet systems were first conceived of in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.Usenets let users post articles or posts (referred to as “news”) to newsgroups.) developed a highly imaginative and groundbreaking environment known as The Imagi Nation Network.Initially launched on May 6th, 1991 as “The Sierra Network,” this friendly, graphics-heavy interface was so simple, advertising promised that even your grandmother would find it easy to “play games, make friends and have fun.” As a teenage computer geek I was instantly hooked after being introduced by my friend Brad Warner and spent hundreds of hours using the service: running up my parents credit card bill, holding up my families landline for several hours at a time, and experimenting with fake profiles when the internet was so new that you could effortlessly fool just about anybody.Before entering Imagi Nation you’d use the Face Maker to create your appearance choosing your skin color, facial features, glasses, clothes, and hairstyle.There were enough variables built in to create over 84 million unique personas.
Half the retirees scowled at me when I rode my bike to the bus stop.
Then you’d walk through the virtual gates and let the fun begin: Red Baron, Mini Golf, Paintball, or Boogers in Sierra Land.
Gambling at the casino and exchanging lewd late night talk in Larry Land (for adults only), or slaying dragons with strangers in Medieva Land.
There are niche sites for virtually every special interest out there.
There are sites to share photos, videos, status updates, sites for meeting new people and sites to connect with old friends.