Messenger of the noughties Suddenly 13 again: I wanted to know what happened to ICQ – and was bitterly disappointed
A-O. The sound gives me goose bumps. It reminds me of a time when my biggest worries were who to copy the math homework from the next morning – and why the cute guy from the next class doesn’t write me on ICQ. Between the ages of 13 and 18, I spent countless hours waiting for HE to come online (HE was someone different every year, it felt). When I was heartbroken, my status message was always especially dramatic, preferably quotes from songs of Paramore, The Killers or Amy Winehouse (he MUST finally realize that I am in love with him. ). You notice: Subtle messages were my thing – that’s probably why it never worked out with the guys back then.
Nevertheless I like to think back to this – from today’s point of view – carefree time. But what has become of ICQ? I want to log in again! With my old account! I could not foresee that it would be so complicated .
ICQ revival attempt no. 1
It’s not my first attempt. Three years ago, on a Saturday evening, the three of us were sitting in our shared kitchen drinking wine when we reminisced about the good old noughties and downloaded the ICQ app for fun to log in. I still can recite my ICQ number in my sleep. What today is the cell phone number or the name on Instagram, back then was the ICQ number. 310-035-599 – these nine numbers are burned into my brain forever (if you want, you can of course add me ^^ cya). Number typed into the login field . Password?! I tried my way through all the passwords I ever had. Shit. Resetting is not an option. The mail address with which I had registered at that time ([email protected]), I have deleted (out of shame) already years ago. Great. Never mind.
Sometime the thing was also forgotten again. Until a few weeks ago, I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head: I want my old account back now! Once again feel that tingle when the foghorn sounds:
Call for help to Russia
Not very hopeful I contact the ICQ support and explain my situation. Two days later I get a reply from Russia. In 2010, AOL sold the instant messaging service to a Russian investment firm. To prove that the account really belongs to me, I should answer a few questions to them. Short euphoria rises. Yay, they did not say NO immediately! But the questions are tough:
- When was the approximate time of your registration? – Um.
- When did you first notice that you couldn’t log in anymore? -Um.
- How many contacts did you have ca. in a contact list? – Um.
- Give us some ICQ numbers of a contact. – Um.
This will be harder than I thought. None of the questions I could answer satisfactorily. I am desperate. Then a ray of hope: I should find three contacts from my list, who can confirm my credibility to the support via their account. Ha! Ask for a few drops of unicorn blood right away. After – for both sides – disturbing messages ("Don’t ask why, but do you still know your ICQ login data?? [. ] Yes, I am serious.") to my friends and acquaintances, I actually found three people! This must be the feeling of a castaway who discovers a ship on the horizon.
After countless attempts at explanation and two weeks of correspondence to Russia, the time has finally come: I can log in again.
Welcome back . not.
Finally! Finally! Finally! I can hardly wait. Maybe someone wrote to me after my last login a hundred years ago. Maybe someone is still online .
The impact on the ground is painful. Nothing feels like back then when you had to send MP3s via ICQ for hours because there were no streaming services available. When you had to wait for someone to come online because no one had a smartphone. When you were still "computer time and not being available all the time. Hach, nice was that .
But now? Where is Slide-a-Lama?? The annoying "zTers ("I can’t hear you, I’m not listening. Nanananananana.")? No foghorn, no single green flower, no unread message. No one there. Instead, there are now video chats with bunny filters, voice messages and fancy stickers to send out.
That’s it now? For two weeks I have pulled out all the stops for this?!
I guess I have lovesickness again, like when I was 13. Thank you, ICQ! In my memory you were so entertaining. I still remember our first meeting: The day my father finally allowed me to install you on his computer felt like the most beautiful moment in my life so far! But I guess it’s my own fault, after all I left you for Facebook and WhatsApp back then. How beautiful something was, you probably notice only when it is gone.
Maybe I’ll write a heartbreak quote in my ICQ status. Where no one will read it anymore.
(But to cheer you up, here’s a little info: "Slide-A-Llama" you can actually play in your browser. You just have to find a partner to play with you in front of the computer, otherwise you’ll be playing against yourselves.)