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Question of the day

Friday, Oct 6, 2017

* Back in the days when smart phones didn’t exist and texting was fairly rare, AOL Instant Messenger was all the rage. The company eventually developed a small mobile device which could send AIMs to other AOL users. Several campaigns used the very edgy technology.

But after 20 years, it’s shutting down. From a message I received this morning…

Hi there! We wanted to let you know that AIM will be going away on December 15, 2017. Until then, you can continue to use AIM normally, but as of December 15, AIM will be discontinued and you will no longer have access. Thank you for being an AIM user - we loved working on this product for you.

Only a handful of people I know still use it, but I still get occasional messages from folks on the system.

A political friend was at one time the most prodigious AIM user I’ve ever known. I walked into her office one day and mentioned I had been trying over and over to send instant messages to her and wasn’t getting a response. She looked and said she had 200 active AIM conversations on her desktop computer and, apparently, that was the company’s limit. It had happened before, she said, which is why she knew.

* The Question: What are the various ways you electronically communicate with others? Explain if necessary.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Flip357 - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    When I interned on Capitol Hill in 2007, we used AIM.

  2. - Downstate - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Phone, Email, Text, Skype, WeChat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn messaging, Facebook messaging.

  3. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Text, FB messenger, email, Twitter direct message. I think that’s it but may be forgetting something.

  4. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    All the cool campaign kids are using secure encrypted apps like Signal now instead of texting or email because after what happened with the DNC & Podesta hacks, people are rightly paranoid that internal campaign communication might not stay internal.

  5. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:27 pm:

    Old folk. Smoke signals.

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==the significant improvements that Kristina accomplished==

    “Improvements”…you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  7. - pundemonium - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    i usually send ravens… they are fast and reliable and can get you out of a pickle quite fast when wights are surrounding u north of the wall

  8. - Tom B. - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    Gchat is pretty prolific on all campaigns, especially the ones that use Google to manage the candidate emails.

  9. - We'll See - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    Mostly text messages for both work and family. My adult children rarely answer calls but they are quick to respond to a text. Also, for work I get a quick response to texts where an email can go unnoticed for days.

  10. - Tommydanger - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    Well the only thing worse than finding out my AIM email address is becoming extinct, is finding that out on Capitol Fax and not hearing anything from AOL about it.

    What’s next, the demise of Meister Brau?

  11. - L.A. - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    I just saw this on It’s almost a little sad. Although I haven’t used it in a long while, back in the day I had multiple messages going at the same time. Not 200, but maybe 10-15. End of an era.

    Now I just send text messages to friends; email for work.

  12. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    When I need to speak with Mike Madigan, I use masking tape to make an “X” on the street light at 65th and Narragansett (SW corner). The next day at the regular time (after dark, of course) I park in the economy parking garage at Midway, fourth floor. He’s always waiting for me in the stairwell. It’s secure, private and there’s never a record of the conversation, which is just the way we like it.


  13. - Wondering - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    I am serious, 6 party line and, also, ticker tape. Invariably someone stepped on the ticker tape and it would have to be spliced.

  14. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    Carrier pidgeon.
    Their homing instincts are impeccable.
    I raise the birds in my backyard and Oswego Willy raises his at his home.

    Once a week we exchange birds. We tie small tubes onto their legs which are filled with secret CapFax messenges. Then we release the bird at sunrise and using nature, each plucky little guy return to their cages.

    When they land, we have a small bell that rings, so that we know we have a new message.

    It works very well, if OW would quit eating my birds and claiming they just got lost.

    Our next design will utilize pidgeon drones.

  15. - realkewlio - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Text, FB messenger, G-chat, Snapchat, and Whats App.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    ===It works very well, if OW would quit eating my birds and claiming they just got lost.===

    It’s my neighbor’s dog. The dog eats homework, and past due notices from the library.

    Bad dog.

  17. - Ghost - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    Reaper pigeons with hellprose air to ground saturation messaging…. it’s included with Amazon prime….. Alexa, dispatch….

  18. - pool boy - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    E mail and text. Back in the day, pager and pay phone.

  19. - lake county democrat - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Ham Radio - numbers.

  20. - 37B - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    For really important messages: Taser.

  21. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    I saw the Governor flying above the Dome, writing in red smoke, “Surrender Democrats”.

  22. - yinn - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    I still have a land line (cheap VOIP) for prodigal family members, and because I try to limit who has my cell number. Otherwise text (day-to-day family and friends, and 2-step verifications), FB Messenger and email. Someone direct-messaged me once on Twitter, so I know that’s an option.

  23. - The Magnificent Purple Walnut - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    I use land line, text, e-mail. Cell phone to immediate family, I too used ravens, but nevermore.

  24. - 37B - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Actual non-frivolous answer:
    Day to day communications with family and friends is by text messaging on phone. E-mailing has faded far into the background and is used mainly for kids’ sports teams communications. Virtually no Facebook or snapchat.

  25. - Huh? - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    We had some new fangled thing called telegraph that sent messages on wires strung up on wood poles. That moved us into the modern age because the messages were called telegrams, the original twitter, short messages on a piece of yellow paper from a company called “Western Union”.

  26. - annonin' - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    quarters and the pay phone work great

  27. - JoanP - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    Primarily email, then phone (landline), then text.

    For really important stuff, though, drums or semaphore signals. I used to use smoke signals, but then I gave up cigarettes and besides people complained about secondhand smoke.

  28. - don the legend - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    igpay atinlay

  29. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    phone, both landline and mobile, email, text, Facebook. occasional fax. conference calls.

  30. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    Also have a VOIP land line, don’t really use it. Hooked into the good old Fax machine. For messages, use text the most, with some FB messenger and Twitter DMs. No Snapchat;that’s for the youngsters. Very little e-mail any more.

    I remember when a “statewide pager” was high tech. Still needed to find a pay phone to get your messages. There was one tiny town along 127 that had two pay phones, and that’s about it. Great place on the way back from Carbondale or Marion. One was a big shooter at the State if they had a “car phone,” especially the old-school pre-cellular type.

  31. - Timmeh - Friday, Oct 6, 17 @ 4:40 pm:

    I used IRC for about a decade, but drifted away from the groups I used to hang out in. The same goes for Discord/Ventrilo/TeamSpeak. I’m just on phone, facebook, and reddit now.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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