Remember when instant messaging was GREATER than text messaging? When you used dial-up and tied up your phone line just to get online and type to people in real time?

What happened to the good ol’ days of primal internet? When conversations with online strangers began with A/S/L…with hopes that you’d have a connection and convince the person to e-mail you a picture? Sometimes you still spoke to that person without a picture because they were an interesting character. There was a thrill factor. There was anonymity. There was only so much information you could find about that person on other websites. Your best bet was to stick to the primary source.

Were chat rooms your thing? Before the predators were at large. Live journals were the archaic blogs. Making the American Online (AOL) Search log was comparable to ‘Trending’ on Twitter. Times have surely changed, but in my not too distant past I was introduced to AOL. The family used a shared AOL account, and my screen name always had those stupid parental restrictions. Do those even exist anymore? My only means of getting to the chat rooms was to use someone else’s screen name, and I had no qualms about that. When I got into the chat room I would quickly set up my screen name: SINCERITY710. I loved to chat, pretend I was 18 when I was really 16. If the scanner was working, I would scan some pictures of myself and upload them, waiting for the next private chat request.

And when that window popped up…

I might would choose “ACCEPT” and respond…



YOUR TURN! What was your screen name and why? What are some of your favorite memories from the AOL-era?


18 thoughts on “A/S/L?

  1. Memory lane!! Tommygirl12 because all of the cool kids wore Tommy Hilfiger (wide-leg jeans with the hammer loop, what?) And 12 is my number – December birthday, basketball and soccer number at the time too.

    Remember always updating your profile and away messages??

    1. LOL Your parents had Tommy money?!! You rich, guh! Mines was based on my birthday too. 710- July 10th. If I ever played sports (I wasn’t very good), I’m sure 10 would be my number. Sincerity came from a Mary J Blige song, I was her number one fan when I was younger. I used to cut out pictures from the magazines and put them on my wall systematically changing them up depending on my mood. Those were my worries in those days…

  2. Brittany says:

    I was definetely into AIM!!! my friends and I used to pretend we were other girls and talk to random guys at sleepovers when we were in 7th grade lol (lame haha) my sn was nikebritt22 lol #memories

    1. AIM was fun. And when Road Runner came out, and you never had to log offline…I always left AIM on and my status was “away” like if I was doing something important. Thanks for sharing nikebritt22!

  3. Lol. I totally forgot about A/S/L. I never did the AOL thing or AIM but I used to frequent a Black British chatroom. It was so much fun! I miss that. Sigh.

    Awww, look at young She. 🙂 You were crushing on NAS back in the day? 🙂

      1. The American chat rooms I found were kind of strange. So, I gave the British one a try. The British chat room was fun from day one.

        Interestingly they talked about a lot of stuff that goes on in the United States. But, also a lot of Black British cultural stuff like music and films. It was really interesting I learned a lot. And, of course a lot of flirting and stuff went on too. It just wasn’t as obvious as the flirting in American chat sites.

  4. 😀 Ah yes, those were fun times. I was mainly a yahoo IM chatter. The first time someone prompted me with A/S/L I didn’t even know what it was. And when I finally found out what it meant I was like “seriously, no hi, hello, how are you?” I don’t recall mt screen name. It was some random moniker that had nothing to do with me. I did use my brother’s screen name a few times though. I had a lot of fun meeting different people. I was always so excited to get home and sign in.

    1. I eventually favored Yahoo chat, but AOL was the start of the chat room era for me. All of this talk is making me think about text messaging etiquette, many people have continuous conversations with no ending or beginnings. I hate that! I only remember my SN because it was something I used as my email for 10+ years… eventually I got a professional email with my name like every adult. 🙂
      Running home to chat online, I remember those days too!

  5. sunnydelyte21 says:

    LOL…good times my name was chinadul…. wow this took me back. I remember once chatting and some guy sent me a naked pic…I logged off asap!! EWWWW

  6. Wow, it has been forever since I saw the America Online logo. I remember back when we first purchased a computer and had dial-up internet in ’98. I only logged online to download songs from Napster, which took forrrrrrrrrever. At least overnight. Lol. The only time I ever ventured into a chat room was during Knicks games. I think we played Yahoo spades, here and there. My screen name was Y2KProdigalSon. Before I put my old desktop computers into permanent storage in ’05 I could still read my AOL mail. Lol.

    1. I actually emailed some of my old mail and pics to the recent emails I use, so I still have some old baggage I’m holding on to from AOL. I get very nostalgic about certain times, and how I thought and expressed myself in the past. The evolution went from AOL to YAHOO (spent the most time here) to GMAIL so I’m just wondering what it will be next.

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