Instant Messaging: Meebo or Pidgin

Supported IM Software

  • Meebo - A website that allows you to instant message in a web browser; you can use one existing AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, G-Talk, ICQ, or Jabber account to chat with anyone on these networks. You can manually log into your preferred network each time, or you can create a Meebo account, store your IM information in it, and just log into Meebo, which will automatically connect you to your networks. The big advantage of Meebo is that you don't need to install special software to use it and you can IM from any computer. The major disadvantage is that their "alert" system is less obtrusive, so you might miss when someone sends you a new message. Also, Meebo is not as customizable as dedicated IM software.

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  • Pidgin - This is software that is installed on your computer in order to let you chat with people on multiple networks at once. Benefits of Pidgin include the ability to customize it more than Meebo and its more attention-grabbing alerts for new messages. The disadvantages are that it requires ITTS install software for you and you can only access Pidgin from the computer where it is installed.

Things You'll Need to Tell ITTS When Requesting an Instant Messaging Program

  • If you decide to use Meebo, there is no software to install and you don't need ITTS to do anything in order for you to start instant messaging. Just create an IM account (see the Links below) or sign in with an existing account, and you're ready to go.
  • If you decide to use Pidgin, you'll need to submit a request to ITTS via Track-IT! to have the software installed on your computer.
  • Either way, it is your responsibility to create and configure your IM client of choice for your IM account(s).

Links to Documentation and Info

If you don't have an existing instant messaging screen name, you'll need to get one from one of the following services

  • AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) - does not require a paid AOL account to use; this service is completely free.
  • G-Talk - requires a free Gmail account. You can create a new one or use an existing one you already have.
  • MSN Messenger - requires a free Hotmail account or a free [ .NET Passport account]. You can create a new one or use an existing one you already have.
  • Yahoo Messenger - requires a free Yahoo account. You can create a new one or use an existing one you already have.
  • There is a Meebo FireFox Add-on that adds a sidebar for better notifications/alerts of new messages for those who use the Firefox browser. More info about it is available here.

Best Practices

  • Never open an attachment sent by someone you don't know. In fact, you should be careful to make sure that attachments sent by people you do know are valid files. Make sure the person intended to send it to you, because IM file transfers/attachments can contain viruses. The virus scanner on your computer should intercept any viruses, but it's always a good idea to be careful.
  • Be sure to use your away messages wisely as a courtesy to others. It's also important to make sure that if you set yourself "away," that you remember to set yourself as "back/available" when you return.
  • Customizing away messages with specific details (rather than just setting yourself as "away") is a good thing.

Tips

  • If you have more than one IM screen name, it's a good idea to create a Meebo account to store that information. That way you only have to log in to Meebo once to connect to multiple networks.
  • If you post a MeeboMe message window or a Meebo Chat Room on any your pages, you will need to monitor it for activity. The best way to do this is to create a Meebo account and monitor it there.

Helpful Links