It’s Friday so I figured I would take a trip down memory lane, this might show my age, but that’s ok. Do you remember ICQ?
About 15 years ago I was in my parent’s living room on the family desktop computer, I think it might have been a Gateway or possibly a DELL. It might have simply said IBM on it. I honestly don’t remember. But, what I do remember is getting a phone call from one of my friends saying I should go download this “thing” called ICQ. Of course I was like what is this ICQ you speak of, he wasn’t much help, he just said it is cool! Because, as he put it “you can talk to girls and stuff”.
Little did I know that by downloading that little program I would develop friendships that probably would have never started, I was invited to parties that I might not have otherwise known about, I started talking to a girl, that eventually led to a 9 year relationship. ICQ is how I learned about Napster, I started down the path of being a computer geek with a social life, this was the beginning of Social Media and it was so simple, I had no idea what was to come.
This is the official word on ICQ: “ICQ is an instant messaging computer program, which was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company Mirabilis, then bought by America Online, and since April 2010 owned by Mail.ru Group. The name ICQ is a homophone for the phrase “I seek you”. This is an adaptation of the Morse code callout “CQ”, which means, “calling any station”.
In my life, this was the beginning, it was way before MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, Twitter, and it was so simple. I didn’t have to stalk people, there was one simple profile picture and a chat box, with a fun, yet sometimes annoying UH OH message alert. I could have a conversation with one person or several people at the same time, suggest they go to Napster and download a song, or even share it over ICQ (of course it took forever). My point is that with such a simple format, social media was alive and it didn’t need a timeline or very many bells and whistles.
One part of me thinks that today it seems archaic in a way, but maybe archaic is exactly what we need? (This could just be the nostalgic part of me talking.) If there is another program or app out there that is simple in it’s sharing and less intrusive I would have to say its Path, which go figure our friend that developed Napster has a hand in. Oh and ICQ still exists, apparently it was purchased by a Russian company and is still very popular in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Maybe I will download it later and take it for another test drive.