Pidgin, Free Software multi protocol instant messenger, is the choice of many users on both Windows and Linux machines and a lot of people use it to post messages on on Microblogging sites like identi.ca or Twitter, either directly via xmpp in the case of identi.ca or using ping.fm, the probably most popular web application to post on several services simultaneously. I will show you some plugins to enhance the Microblogging experience using Pidgin.
First of all if you don’t know what Microblogging is, and you’re lazy to type Wikipedia into you’re location bar here’s the link to the the entry about it. Long story short, it’s basically some sort of online community where you can post public and private messages usually of 140 characters, the size of an SMS. It depends on your encoding, and responses on services like jaiku can be much longer, but that’s just to get you sort of an idea what it’s about.
This cap of characters your able to use is already the first problem you’ll probably face using Pidgin as you have absolutely no idea how many characters you already typed into the input field while the web sites of the services themselves usually show some sort of counter next to the input area or field. This brings us to our first plugin:
It’s kind of a no brainer to guess what it does. It counts the characters contained within the input area of Pidgin and shows the count on the right side of the bar where the emoticons, formatting and the like are located. Get it here
Pidgin identi.ca/Twitter Status
These two plugins set your status message to whatever your last dent on identi.ca or tweet on twitter was, only use one at the same time. Installation is quite easy, on Linux and you should already have everything you need to run them, on Windows however you’ll probably need to install ActivePerl. Which isn’t uncommon and you need for a lot of Pidgin plugins. Anyway here’s the like for the identi.ca plugin and here’s the one for the Twitter one.
Twitter in your profile
It puts your last tweet inside your protocol’s profile at a position you defined. You can put all your usual stuff in there and tell the plugin where it has to put the text of your last tweet. Personally, I don’t see a use for this. Is there anyone who even pays attention let alone looks at profiles on instant message services? Well, if your part of such a group this is probably for you. It works and it does what it promises. Link
This is the one plugin you should probably keep an eye on or maybe even start using it today. I currently only supports Twitter, but other services like Jaiku and identi.ca are planned for the future. When Twitter dropped it’s xmpp support a lot of people were sort of pissed as they couldn’t use pidgin anymore to post tweets. Ping.fm already existed at this point which some did not want to use following their Stallmanian ways. Microblog-Purple, when activated adds another protocol to your account management: TwitterIM. After you gave it your password and account name you can start writing and reading tweets. Link
I know that there are a lot of desktop application like Twitux, Twhirl and Gwibber out there which do an amazing job and which I used for a while and appreciate all the work that was put into them but I prefer to not run one gazillion applications at the same time, and if Pidgin does the job. Why not?