The new function, which mimics AIM’s away messages, highlights a generational divide among Instagram users.
Instagram’s new Notes feature, launched last week, evoked memories of AOL Instant Messenger. AIM, a cultural phenomenon in the late 1990s and early 2000s, where internet slang such as LOL for “laugh out loud” and BRB for “be right back” spread.
In those days, before texting and social media took hold, users would rush home after school or work and log on to AIM. They often had wacky usernames, like “SpiceyWic3y,” and exchanged messages with friends as long as their dial-up internet could handle it. When they were away from their computer, they could leave silly notes—much like the Instagram Notes feature—to let their friends know when they were “AFK,” or “away from keyboard.”
The Notes feature and its AIM ancestor highlight a generational divide between millennials, who were born from around 1981 to 1996, and members of Gen Z, who were born roughly from 1997 to 2010. While millennials loved AIM away messages, side parts and skinny jeans, many of their younger peers want nothing to do with those things.
Many of the younger Instagram users who are confused by Notes have never used AIM. On social media in recent days, some people said they just didn’t get the new feature.
Instagram said in a blog post that it added Notes because people like “a lightweight, easy way to share what’s on their mind and start conversations.” Notes stay up for 24 hours before disappearing. People can tap on them to respond. (WSJ)