November 30, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Why You’re Following @YourAwayMessage

We will always cherish the things we loved when we were very stupid.

Your first boyfriend was all wrong for you. The music you loved in middle school was unspeakably, objectively bad. Your favorite t-shirt when you were 8 didn’t fit right and featured a prominent spaghetti-os stain. But none of that matters. Those things were big parts of your world and you loved them all the same because at that particular point in time those things were completely and utterly awesome.

Despite being a learned college student who’s deleted your first love’s cellphone number and has upgraded from spaghetti-os to ramen, you now look upon those early, bombastic loves with affection. You overlook the terrible text message breakup you had with that guy and reminisce about the time he bought you flowers for your birthday and, weirdly but sweetly, your mom’s birthday. The smell of microwave spaghetti-os reminds you of weekends spent getting grass stains on everything you owned and trying to tie matchbox cars to your cat’s back paws. And— admit it— you still know every word to that one Green Day album you had in sixth grade.

Which is why I know you follow @YourAwayMessage.

Because it reminds you of when you were very young and very, very stupid. But it also reassures you that everyone else was exactly as stupid as you were. Maybe worse.

@YourAwayMessage is a twitter account comprised of generic “away messages” every thirteen year old created while using AIM, AOL’s insanely popular instant messenger from the mid-to-late aughties. If you needed that summary of what AIM was then you’re either A, not of my generation and therefore an official judging the Ithacan’s online addition and therefore hello, please give us an award or B, of my generation but had an adolescence so vastly different from my own I cannot possibly hope to understand nor empathize with your youth so if you want representation write your own stupid blog, neener neener neener. What I am saying is everyone I knew and probably everyone you knew used AIM from middle school into early or mid highschool. That’s when Facebook really caught on, and who needs instant textual communication when you can post bumper stickers on your crush’s wall, am I right?

Back to the account.

@YourAwayMessage is a loving but ruthless account of everyone’s middle school id. Deathcab lyrics, passive-aggressive pleas for texts and attention, and promises to “brb, mom’s using the computer” abound from tweet to shining tweet. At the time of this writing, it has just shy of one hundred thousand followers.

100,000 jerks, just like you, following an account both nostalgic for and, by its mere existence, critical of your time spent using AIM. And those followers are just the jerks that use twitter. Twitter’s got nothin’ on the tween population once inhabiting the terrible, x-underscore-x usernames of AIM a mere half decade ago. It’s doubtful any non-facebook entity will corner the Internet market on our generation the way AOL managed to for a few, shining, pubescent years. Years when you were awful and doing stupid, awful things like stirring up drama and making cheesy jokes you thought were brilliant and talking about how edgy Linkin Park were to friends who lived a few doors down, all through the Internet. But at least you were having fun.

Brb, mom needz the comp. :/