A few weeks ago, Toys ‘R’ Us declared bankruptcy and we all thought, “Okay so my childhood is officially dead.” Now, I regret to inform you that your middle school years are also dead, because AIM is shutting down after 20 years of faithful service. Shocked to find out that AIM is still a thing? Same. But also like, nooooo don’t go! Anyone who was anyone in seventh grade had AIM—unless you had MSN Messenger, aka the Android of messaging apps—and it was where all the juiciest shit went down. Seriously. Raise your hand if you ever had a “boyfriend” who you solely communicated with on AIM and never spoke to IRL. *Raises both hands and feet*
Important AIM features included: 1) your buddy profile, which you could use to shout-out your friends and post cryptic song lyrics
so people would know you are sad and give you attention, 2) away messages, which you could use to tell people you were briefly leaving your computer (this was before we took our computers with us everywhere), and, most importantly, 3) your screen name. Creating your screen name, obviously, was an enormous life decision. Right up there with where you’re going to college and what cool accessories you should get for your locker. So what did your first screen name say about your middle school self? In honor of AIM, we investigate:
Sports Related Screen Name – You’re Basic
You’re 14 years old and lack a personality, so when it comes to creating a cute nickname that represents you, you went with a very simple formula: thing your mom makes you do + your gender + your birthday. You were probably also
a baby prostitute an avid Abercrombie + Fitch shopper, and may or may not have a Juicy tracksuit or two in your closet. Uggs: yes. Opinions: no. That’s how you rolled in middle school. Hopefully that’s changed, but I doubt it.
Song Lyrics/Band Name – You Were An Emo Kid
Cue the teen angst. Anyone with a band/music related screen name back in the day wanted you to know two things: They shop at Hot Topic, and they will someday go on a healthy dose of Prozac (hi!). You’re mad at your mom for…something. You’re not sure what, but you’re fucking sick of it! You can’t wait until she goes out of town so you can dye your hair black, and you often draw big Xs on your hands to show people you “go to shows” or whatever. You have a book of poetry somewhere in your backpack, definitely favor Seth Cohen to Ryan Atwood, and will bankrupt your parents on a tiny New England liberal arts college at some point in your future.
Alternating Upper And Lower Case – You’re Annoying AF
Oh good Lord. You’re one of those 14-year-olds who hasn’t been diagnosed with ADD yet so you’re just popping off at literally all times. Your teachers are constantly pissed at you, and your friends know to get decaffeinated soda for any sleepovers you may be invited to. You’re probably one of those people who spent 10 hours decorating every inch of their lockers, trapper keepers, and backpacks, and the guidance counselor was genuinely worried you were the world’s youngest crackhead. You will eventually be prescribed Adderall and become a
dealer functional member of society.
Pun/Word Play – You’re Some Kind Of Genius Or Something
Ex: I can’t think of one. I’m not good at puns.
Damn. It was 2005 but you were living in 2025. You saw the writing on the wall about where screen names were going, and locked down a cool pun/play on your name early. Now that same screen name is still your handle on Twitter, Insta, and Snapchat. You won the screen name game, and are probably my boss or something now.
Just Your Name – Psychopath
Any child who is given the option to represent themselves in any way possible and just chooses their own name is a future psycho and should be treated with extreme caution. That’s some serial killer shit. You seriously couldn’t think of a SINGLE defining feature about yourself other than the name your parents gave you at birth? Is that because you’re boring, or because your interests included things like harming animals? Serious question. Get help.