Move Over AIM, Make Way for…AFIM (Airforce Instant Messenger)
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The United States Air Force has announced that it has gotten with the times. No longer prohibiting its members from using an instant messenger client to chat with people outside the company, such as loved ones back home, the Air Force has taken the bold step of embracing the technoloogy, and making it its own.

This week the Air Force launched its own “Friends and Family” instant messenger program. Using a proprietary instant messenger client developed by the Air Force, which includes encryption and is considered to be more secure than the more widely used messenging clients, Air Force members can invite up to five family members or friends to participate in the program.


The security-conscious program does not allow the uploading of documents, pictures, or other files, as do many other programs, including the two most popular, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Yahoo Messenger.

According to an Army spokesperson based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq, “Instant messaging has become the preferred method of communicating to people at home.”

It makes sense. It has a sense of immediacy which allows one to feel more connected on some level to the person at the other end of the line than do letters or even email.

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It can also provide a measure of comfort for families back home, worried about the safety of their loved ones overseas. After Tuesday’s attack in Mosul, in which 22 people were killed, Jeannete Raburn of Alabama, whose husband is stationed in Mosul, said “You can think a thousand things, but that light shining on Yahoo Messenger was the best thing ever to me.”

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