Back in 1997, we were a small handful of geeks who’d heard about a smart new thing called ICQ (I Seek You).
It was an Instant Messenger. It was incredible! You didn’t have to wait for a mail to get sent. You could talk instantly over the Internet. You could even talk, really talk, using your voice.
We did that several times with our friend in the U.S. Back then, it would have cost a fortune to call him from a normal phone.
So when Skype came out and made sensation, I thought, “So what? ICQ have been able to do that for years.”
You didn’t get a username (like in Skype) or use an email (like MSN). You got a number. And mine was 3532442. (If you sign up for ICQ now, you’ll get a nine digit number.)
That friend of ours, from the U.S… He died very young. But neither my husband nor I wanted to remove him from our contact list. We didn’t truly believe that he was dead until recently where we found a newspaper article about his funeral.
Once, back in 1998 or so, I got my husband three days of freelance teaching in Excel. Starting the day after. Only trouble was that he didn’t know Excel 😉 So I speed-taught him the night before, and then we were connected through ICQ. If he couldn’t answer a question from a student, he would ask me through ICQ.
So many memories…
And then one day, I couldn’t log into my ICQ account. The messenger had been sold. It was originally created by an Israeli company called Mirabilis, but they sold it to AOL, and a security hole in their system made it easy to steal an account. Hundreds of ICQ accounts were stolen, and none from AOL answered our cries.
I never gave up hope, though, and today, while searching for something else, I saw my old ICQ account among the Google results. I clicked, attempted to sign in, asked for my “forgotten” (stolen) password and got it!
So now I have my old ICQ account back. I might not use it, but it feels good to have it back. We aren’t many with such a low number 😉