I love using Facebook Messenger for keeping in touch with various cohorts and partners-in-crime around the world, but this sentiment is not widely shared by others. A lot of people I’ve come across hate Facebook Messenger as if the app has personally trashed their car, and flooded their house. Even though they use Facebook often, they refuse to touch the Messenger app. I personally don’t understand it. But hey, each to their own.
So with that sentiment in mind, I decided to carry out a public service and go out hunting for some Facebook Messenger alternatives. You can use these to keep in touch with your Facebook contacts while on the go, if you do not want to use Messenger for whatever reason. Hey, you’re welcome!
We start with the big bad boy on the block. Yes, that smoldering charmer, Mr Skype. Skype has long had Facebook integration, so along with being able to see your Facebook Wall in a separate window, you can also talk to your contacts there. Integrating is painless. Simply find your “Skype Home” box:
Then click the link to begin linking accounts.
Once you have given Skype the necessary permissions to access your Facebook account, your contacts will immediately appear in your Skype contact list.
As you can see though, one major drawback is that you are unable to merge identical contacts into one contact. But that’s a minor gripe, and a problem that only OCD people would have a problem with. Skype has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as various other platforms and devices. Just head on over to their download page.
I have been using Pidgin for years, to keep in touch with my various contacts spread across different instant messaging networks. Pidgin is free and open source, and well worth using if you are on a Windows PC (no Mac or Linux option unfortunately).
Adding Facebook contacts is a breeze. Go to Accounts>Manage Accounts to see the list of possible networks you can link up to. As you can see, Facebook is one of the first ones.
Then it’s just the simple matter of adding your Facebook username (what is at the end of http://www.facebook.com/your username ) when you go to your Wall, and your password. Add the name you want listed on contact lists, and an avatar, and click connect. Then wait for the contacts to come through.
What is great about Pidgin is that you can merge Facebook contacts with the same contact on different networks. So if Christian or Danny, or Mihir was also on Google Talk, I could merge the two contacts together to make one.
This is more or less the Mac OS X equivalent of Pidgin. It is somewhat eclipsed by iMessage, but after three years of using a Mac, I have never really warmed to iMessage. I still prefer my birdies.
Setting up your Facebook contacts on Adium is very simple. Just choose Facebook from the list of possible accounts, sign in, and your Facebook friends will appear under….well, “Facebook Friends”. What more is there to be said? Nice and easy.
As I’ve just said, I am not a huge iMessage fan, but I seem to be in the minority. So I would be entirely remiss if I failed to include it in the list of possible Facebook Messenger alternatives.
iMessage is Apple’s internal SMS system where one Apple user can text another Apple user free of charge. That’s the part I like. But the integration with other IM programs? Meh, not so much. But if putting Facebook on iMessage is what floats your boat, adding it takes 30 seconds or less.
Under Preferences > Accounts, enter your username followed by @chat.facebook.com. Then your Facebook password. Under Server Options use chat.facebook.com as the server. Leave the rest empty and click Done.
This multi-protocol instant messaging app, which I have had on my phone for ages, is perhaps one of the best around. In the absence of Pidgin or Adium making an appearance on the iPhone, IM+ has emerged as the next best thing. And it is even better with Facebook included as a chat platform. Simply press the “Connect with Facebook” button, give IM+ permission to access your Facebook account, and next thing you know, Auntie Jean and Uncle Bob will be pinging you with the family gossip.
Trillian offers support for Facebook Messenger, but a quick scan of the Trillian help pages shows that many users are having issues with connecting, and then staying connected. However, you may have absolutely no problems at all, so if you are an existing Trillian user, there’s no harm in trying it and seeing what happens.
I certainly had no problems when trying it out for this article. And I am not renowned for my overwhelming good luck. Even the black cats run away when they see me.
What do you use to talk to your Facebook chat contacts? Are you a Facebook Messenger fan, or do you use an alternative app?