The invaluable Facebook Messenger. (A rant.)

By now I’m down to Messenger only, when it comes to Facebook. Not that I officially stopped using Instagram, I still have an active account… it just so happens that the iPhone’s hideous camera killed my creativity and there’s no new content — helping me delay the “quo vadis, photoblog?” question until I get a proper phone, or camera. But I digress.

(Oh, I use WhatsApp too, I just realised. Shit. But I digress again.)

(Oh, and just to settle: I do not use Facebook, as in Facebook-the-evil-social-network-site-full-of-ads. Apart from of course.)

So anyway, Messenger. Turns out, to a Soros immigrant like myself, Messenger is, apparently, invaluable. Despite all the thinking, I don’t see a way around it. Family would incidentally be the easier part here: some of them use Hangouts, maybe I could convince the others to use something else?… But friends in the old country? Forget it. Not tech savvy enough, and I’m not a strong enough factor to change (as sad as that sounds.) So the best I could do is just leave (which is tempting) and basically lose those connections (again, tempting, except for the 3 people that would be a painful, painful loss.)

So I dusted off the old Pidgin. At least I don’t have to use the shitty webpage, and maybe, maybe leave less data in the hands of Zuck. (I mean… my chats are in his hands, so not sure what exactly I’m expecting here.)

Pidgin still looks exactly like it looked about 12 years ago when I last used it, which I love. But although it (seemingly) solves the direct Facebook problem (via purple-facebook, the awesome plugin by jgeboski), it shows beautifully the state of the chat ecosystem. Just look at this list:


In addition (to the list and the ecosystem sit rep), Pidgin does not (can not) have support for some other protocols, and some others simply don’t work, or outdated, or never worked, or something or other. Wire is a sore miss for me, despite it being an opensource app. Maybe I should start a bounty program.

Naturally, Pidgin is not at fault here, not in the slightest. They are a bunch of enthusiasts who code in their free time. All I can be is eternally grateful for them for the working Facebook (and Hangouts) (and Telegram) plugins, and the clutter-free interface. At fault here is the ecosystem and greed of the companies that have played the “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” game with such success. And us, power users, who let this happen.

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