Hey everyone, I just wanted to throw this little tidbit at you for anyone wondering how to contact me via the IM link I've posted on my contact me page. The protocol I'm using is called XMPP/Jabber. It's a free, open source instant messaging protocol and service that I've been using for years, and it's well worth having. Especially with the way things are going with social networks right now, and the censorship, and all that crazy jazz. Getting started on Jabber/XMPP is super, super easy. First, you'll want to start by picking a server. You can see the list of what's available publicly here, or you can spin up your own if you're spicy enough to give it a try. Not every chat service will be the right one for you.
I've had to move twice to new services because, like the wild west, free means you don't have big corporations standing behind these services. They're most often run and maintained by colleges, small companies, and individuals, who want to provide everyone with a free, open source, high quality IM service outside of the big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Discord, etc. Anyhow, once you've picked a service that looks like it'll fit your needs, you need to pick a good cross platform IM client. I use Pidgin, but others like Trillian and such will work too. As long as it supports XMPP, you're golden. Once you have that, take the service you've picked, sign up for an account, then enter it into your chat client. After that, you merely need to add me, or any of your friends, as a contact.
My current IM address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Just add me, and send a message. After that you'll have to wait for me to approve you as a friend (it's to keep spam to zero on the XMPP networks, which it works beautifully for that), and once I do, you're all set. If, for some odd reason, I don't get your request, or you don't hear back from me, email me, as it might just be some weird quirk that's keeping the request from going through. If you need help looking up and picking a client, especially if you're not very technical, just let me know and I'll gladly help you. Anyhow, that's the basic overview of XMPP Instant Messaging. It's a little bit technical, and somewhat spartan compared to most modern chat features at the major social networks. However, in the long run I think you'll find it's better. Plus, it's private, censorship free, and distributed, which makes it super hard to eavesdrop on.
So anyhow, if you wanna add me as a friend on XMPP, please do. I'd love to chat with any and all of you guys! :)