This question really has a simple answer: Because it wouldn’t shut up.
I’m not a huge fan of instant messaging. You’d think I would be, what with my fascination with high-tech doodads. But frankly instant messaging is disruptive. It’s not like text messaging, where I can ignore the message while I finish a phone call or some other activity. No, IMs jump to the foreground, in some cases capturing whatever keystrokes you were entering into another app. Even if you disable this stupid feature, you still have to deal with the IM in order to get your task bar to hide (assuming you use that feature of the task bar).
There are times I think IM’s are appropriate. The other night around 10:30 PM I was working on a project and needed to use a little tool one of the programmers here created. I checked Yahoo Messenger and saw that his status was “online” so I sent him a quick message to get a link to the documentation for the program. Since we all work from home, I didn’t want to call and wake everyone up. IM worked great for that.
There are other times when IM’s are inappropriate. Anything that could’ve been said in an email shouldn’t be said in an IM. And anything that is important enough for an IM is probably important enough for a phone call. It’s quicker and more information is exchanged per unit of time than an IM.
But the thing that finally crossed the line with AIM were their Flash ads. I don’t mind the ads in general — the app is free so they have to generate revenue somehow — but lately AOL has been serving up ads that include sound. It started with a short 4-note melody that apparently was just supposed to get my attention. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but eventually discovered that if I told AIM to never play any sounds at all for any reason, it quit making that noise.
But yesterday AIM started serving me an ad for some hip-hop gangsta ringtones. I’m just sitting here and all of a sudden I’m treated to some rap crap full volume over my speakers. Turns out AIM was inviting me to download ringtones.
That was enough of that. I did some searching through the options to figure out how to turn off sounds (again) but I didn’t come up with anything. So goodbye AIM.
I still use MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. So far they haven’t annoyed me enough to uninstall them. But AIM is gone.