My Love Affair with Instant Messaging

Do you love instant messaging? I do.

In fact, I remember the first time I used a chat room when my parents signed us up for AppleLink, a BBS (remember those?) that we could access using the modem on my first computer, the ill-fated special “Woz” edition Apple IIGS (remember THOSE?). The year was 1986 and I was in the 5th grade. In 1989, AppleLink was bought by a little-known company called Quantum (by a little-known person named Steve Case), who later rebranded the service as America Online. I remember when the service changed and how excited I was because it meant one thing — even more chat rooms!

In my high school and college days, I would telnet into academic Unix servers and talk to my friends on ytalk and later on PCs using AOL Instant messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger and GTalk. The only chat service I never got into was ICQ, although I did log in once in a blue moon for a special purpose chat on one topic or another.

So, long story short, I love chat rooms and the whole concept of chatting online. But, circa 2000 or so, all my friends were on different chat networks! At one point, I was running three chat clients on my machine — what a waste of resources. Enter Trillian (and Adium for the Mac, Gaim for Linux, etc.): now I could manage all my buddies in one place.

Then came that fateful day in 2004 when the client site I’ve been visiting since August of 2003 shut down all chat ports and banned Trillian from our desktops.

For the first time in my life, I was a man without a chat room.

Then, in 2005, a new Sequoia-baked web site went into alpha. I immediately jumped in and registered for this new chat room, called meebo, which offered the ability to combine all my buddies and chat across all the networks (like Trillian) but do so under the guise of a normal web site running on port 80. This of course allowed me to bypass the chat port and client software restrictions.

Fast forward to the end of 2007, and meebo now features rooms (how nostalgic) along with an open API, for which various companies have built a plethora of applications ranging from chess to speed dating to video chat.

So why did I just chronicle my love affair with chat in all of its gory detail? And no less, why did I do so on the Feedhaus blog?

Stay tuned, because tomorrow we’re going to announce a very cool new part of feedhaus that will truly change the way people consume news on the internet . . . and how they partake in discussions about current events.

Watch this space — and I promise — you won’t be disappointed!