Love chatting! It’s like a dirty little secret. Not many people of a certain age or older will own up to a lot of chatting but there’s a reason why so many interfaces – Yahoo IM, AIM, Messenger, Facebook, et cetera – exist. Someone out there is doing it. A lot of it. Thanks to internet 2.0 (soon to be 3.0!), we chatterers don’t have to confine ourselves to a single provider, or spread ourselves thin using several pop-outs at any given time.
We can use all of the chat operators we want with just one of any of these chatter boxes. And since everyone is at facebook, you might as well be able to chat with your friends, without even logging into facebook.
Digsby is the first 3rd party messenger to support facebook’s chat feature. It is a cross-platform messenger available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. No hacks or plugins are required. Just register for an Digsby account and login with it. Once you are logged in, click Add Account. Now in the Accounts tab, click Add IM Account and select Facebook Chat from the list
Pidgin is an opensource 3rd party IM that has a large user base but sadly till today there is no official support for facebook chat. The only way to connect with Facebook chat is through a plugin. Grab the Facebook Chat Plugin for Pidgin and with it you can log into the Facebook servers, grab the buddy list, send/receive messages, add/remove friends, receive notifications, search for Facebook friends and set your Facebook status.
Once you have installed this plugin, you will find Facebook listed among the supported IMs.
Adium is a free opensource IM for Mac OS X. The latest version(1.3.3) has a built-in support for facebook chat, just login with your facebook account and you are good to go.
If you are only interested in using the facebook chat and not all the other chat funcions, you can try the Facebook Chat Standalone.
If you’re looking for the app that does it all, look for Trillian. Chatty interoperability on just about every device I have (not the Atari, sadly).