Why I Miss MSN and Wish It Would Come Back

Back in the days before most of my friends were on Facebook, we were on Bebo, and while they were very similar Bebo did not have a chat system built in.

So instead we used MSN Messenger. In some ways those were the glory days of the internet for me. Some of my closest friendships now were solidified through MSN in it’s heyday.

There were silly animated gifs, and emoticons, you could have different backgrounds to your conversations with different people, I’d talk to Alison and it would be a background of Lavender, Nadia and it would be autumn trees. It was aesthetically pleasing and nicer than anything we have now. A chat system that was just that, a chat system.

So many evenings passed in wars of gifs and nudge wars (Yes, nudge wars were the predecessors to poke wars for those who were not there and do not remember), and others passed in hours of utterly important gossip, news, scandal. I had a relationship that was based mainly on a mutual love of R.E.M. and took place almost entirely on MSN, and I know I’m nowhere near the only one of my friends who did.

It was a procrastination station, there is no denying that, there were hours I spent playing solitaire or pinball, while waiting for someone, anyone to log in. But it was never as bad as Facebook, on MSN when you had a conversation you were having a conversation, that was why you were there. There were greetings (Or in some special cases, immediate exclamations of gossip) and there were goodbyes, there was an intention and an attentiveness to the conversation that isn’t really present anymore.
I kept the majority of my MSN conversations, the logs were saved and they’ve come through four different computers with me. I wouldn’t (Or couldn’t) look at them now, seeing as most of them come from when I was about 14 or 15, but they’re a part of my life that I want to keep around, even if they just sit there unread. Also potential leverage against oh so many of my friends!

Somewhere in about 2009 there was a mass exodus. I think that the system broke down a bit, but the main issue was that everyone slowly started siphoning their time into Facebook more and more. I remember being one of the last people to leave, I remember logging in most evenings to a empty graveyard of offline users, until eventually MSN crashed on me and I didn’t bother to try and update or fix it.
I miss MSN, I know I’m not the only one who does, most people I know have lots of good memories attached and wish for it back.
I miss you MSN.
Maybe I can make Skype as fun…


5 thoughts on “Why I Miss MSN and Wish It Would Come Back

  1. Jacques says:

    You’re not the only one who misses it. Good post.

    Back then, people didn’t have a million different social media functions spinning around them, vying for their time. And with that, were more involved in the conversation.

    Coincidently, while I had formed many close, multi-year relationships offline, and a lot on MSN as well, I took a break from MSN in 2008. When I returned in 2010, the place was a desert. I thought I’d been deleted/blocked, only to discover that everyone was on FB chat or Skype.

    I tried the latter, but the conversations (I had kept in touch with the MSN friends via other means) were just not as fluid or engrossing. Again, people have so much more going on online (and on their phones simultaneously), that it’s info overload. Also, it’s less about the conversation and more about pictures and manufactured status now:

    How many psuedo-friends do you have on FB?
    How many pics of you out in a club or places you’ve visited?
    What did your ex look like?
    Do you have SnapChat?
    Do you have WhatsApp?
    When are you going to get iFriends?
    Are you on Instagram?
    How come you weren’t on World of Warcraft last night when you and Bartholemew were having a three-way convo on FB-chat, while sending each other memes over SnapChat and camming on Skype?

    With the surge in popularity of Facebook, MSN died right around 2009/10. Hell, people hardly even like emailing anymore! I’ve gradually lost most of my treasured old friends due to that — bar one or two — but life goes on.

  2. Yama says:

    Ive got the same feeling. 2006, msn at its best 🙂 Facebook and all these new sites are just sites for people in bad need of attention for surviving the day. On ms, no one could hurt your feelings about how you look and you could always be happy for the person you were. Thats something that all these new social networks miss. I was also the last guy to end up with msn, i didnt have fb untill 2012. And, i dont understand why microsoft didnt just buy skype and put it into msn instead of putting msn into skype. MSN was so much more personal than all these new robotfeeling social bs.

  3. Andrew says:

    I totally agree with you. I’m having a really nostalgic moment about how much I enjoyed the internet 10 years ago and how disassociated everyone is with each other on-line these days.

    There’s probably 1000x more people active on-line these days than there were in 2004 but it’s such a lonely place now. MSN and the smaller on-line communities that existed were great..

    The more I think about it and look into this subject it just becomes so evident that it was the Facebook era that changed everything. Whilst Facebook wasn’t so horribly bad, I’m afraid it’s getting even worse. I’m seeing lots of people not bothering with Facebook any more and instead turning to places such as Twitter/Instagram. They’re even more devoid of social interaction, despite being proclaimed as supposedly great “social tools”. Does that make sense? I don’t know.

  4. Lauren says:

    I’m glad I came across this, I thought I was the only one!

    It feels like I don’t know how to casually chat online with friends anymore because I don’t know their online status. And Facebook seems so impersonal; I hate finding things out about friends via their statuses rather than them telling me directly. Or seeing photos of family that were once shared in emails or at family gatherings. Unfortunately this causes all causes me a lot of anxiety, because communication and relationships matter so much to me.

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