Long, long ago, we sincerely believed that ICQ is going to be the king of instant messaging—we all have a unique number, the “uh-oh” sound is so endearing and there’s a function for us to send images. What more could we ask for?
But…just like anything in the Internet, they came and went. If you’re a teenager now who has got no idea what I’m talking about, read on—for before WhatsApp, we used our large desktop to talk to our crushes!
It all started from mIRC: at 9.00 p.m. sharp daily, everyone, regardless of race, language or religion, logged in to mIRC, an Internet chatroom. A few channels that we often went were #teens, #singapore and #19XX (the XX refers to the year you were born). Then the guys would message all the girls and the girls would wait for messages.
I know, because once, I experimented with the nick “Ah_G1RL87” and received tens of messages. Or hundreds. I can’t remember
By then, most of us have found good friends (or girlfriends / boyfriends) from mIRC—it’s time to take it to the next level. ICQ worked because it’s not an Internet chatroom but an intsant messaging platform; good for private conversations without being harassed by perverts. No longer do we log in at 9.00 p.m. sharp; we would just log in when our friends were online. If they were not, we would log out and do other things.
Hotmail then took the world by storm—everyone had a Hotmail account, and sending chain emails became a daily routine. With that, we downloaded a software called MSN Messenger—it works just like ICQ but with more functions like emoticons and whatnot. As smartphones slowly sneaked their way into our lives, we downloaded eBuddy, an app that can connect to MSN Messenger, to our phone, messaging others as we were in the bus.
You know, it was the coolest thing to do—chit-chatting without using SMS in the bus. It’s like a godsent software.
During those days, we were using SMS regularly. Some people tended to boast how big their social circle is by the number of SMSes they sent per month. But, just like any instant messaging platform, it’s almost dead now…or maybe not. Mindef and banks still use them.