Recently, I discovered journalist Dolly Alderton, and her book ‘Everything I Know About Love’. I took the book on holiday a few weeks ago and loved it so much, I read it in less than a day. The first thing I did when I got home was gift it to my best friend – it was the ultimate book about female friendship and growing up in the noughties.

She messaged me a few days later, and told me she knew she wouldn’t be able to put it down after Dolly had started referencing MSN Messenger – one of the most relatable subjects for 20-somethings who grew up shortly after the internet was born.

MSN Messenger was the gateway to the online world. It was social media before social media was even a thing. Like Dolly, I used to rush back home from school every day to log on, only to chat to the same people I had spent the previous six hours with in classes. How we managed to keep the conversations going all evening and into the night, I will never know.

One day, we all logged out of MSN for the very last time – and it officially shut down in 2013.

If you remember, there was an etiquette to MSN, with unwritten rules and quirks. It formed friendships, fuelled break-ups and caused rows in the family home whenever our parents needed to use the phone. Here are 15 things I distinctly remember about MSN Messenger:

  1. Signing in and out several times to get the boy you’d been flirting with for two weeks’ attention until he finally got the hint and started a conversation with you.
  2. Using the ‘what I’m listening to’ function on Windows Media Player to send emo cryptic messages to your contacts about how you were feeling.
  3. Organising your contacts into categories and naming them appropriately…’Boyz I like’…’My Bitches’ etc.
  4. Trying to figure out how there was always that one person who was constantly online. 2am…4am…6am…during school…how were they constantly on MSN?!
  5. Having to ask your friends if somebody was online to determine if you had been brutally blocked.
  6. Was it even worth having a MSN photo if it wasn’t taken with a dodgy webcam? (Which was always conveniently ‘broken’ if anybody asking you to ‘go on cam’!)
  7. Creating a library of shortcuts to display emoticons and graphics as you weren’t cool if you didn’t have ‘wuu2’ appear in pink glitter whenever you typed it into your chat window.
  8. Typing ‘sorry that was my friend’ if you told a boy you fancied them and got no response after five minutes.
  9. Cursing whoever decided to nudge you ten times in a row and caused your desktop computer to crash.
  10. Feeling the struggle when your friend sent you a song over MSN and it took hours to download. Or even worse, crying a little bit when your download failed at 99% because of your terrible dial up connection.
  11. Printing out entire MSN conversations and taking them into school to prove to your friends what was said during an online argument.
  12. Feeling smug AF if you were the only person who had managed to download a web version of MSN onto the computer at school as the desktop version was blocked. Then realising there was nobody to talk to on it…because everybody was at school.
  13. Changing your status to ‘offline’ so that you could chat to that one person for hours in peace.
  14. Using your MSN name to display emo song lyrics, usually by Panic at the Disco or My Chemical Romance.
  15. Trying to fit in with the cool kids at school by making уσυя тєχт ℓιкє тнιѕ 

What were your favourite MSN memories? Did you do any of the above? Tweet me @sophiefryer with your flashbacks!