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Headshot of me wearing red lipstick Kara Babcock

Trying out Digsby

Published .

I've got a bunch of things I should blog about, so let's start with Digsby, a new free multi-service IM program. I have both an MSN (I suppose it's "Windows Live Messenger" now) account and an AIM screenname. Up until recently, I used two separate programs. I've tried Pidgin and Trillian; however, I found the former too spartan and the latter too bloated. I couldn't get comfortable with either--it's cool that Pidgin's free and open-source, but it's just not for me!

Lately I've been trying the new IM program on the block: Digsby. It's still in "beta" (for what that word is worth in the Google era), but it's very functional and constantly being updated to improve features and stability. In addition to the major IM protocols, it also supports Facebook Chat. I find this useful, because it means I know when some of my Facebook friends are online without having to check Facebook; then I can talk to them directly from Digsby.

Digsby does more than IM: it's touted as your "IM + Email + Social Networks" program. It'll check your mail accounts and supports Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, sending you notifications from these sites and letting you update your account status. I don't use MySpace, of course, but I love the Twitter integration. The Facebook feature doesn't work with Facebook's new layout yet, so I haven't used it much.

What else do I like about Digsby? You can reply directly to the On-Screen Notifications that pop-up, letting me type a quick reply without completely losing focus on whatever I'm doing. It supports tabbed conversations, keeping everything organized.

So far my file transfers with Windows Live users have been sub par--I hope there's major improvements soon. I would like support for alternate emoticon sets added to the interface--currently you can override the default emoticons, but your changes get deleted each time Digsby updates.

Even in beta, Digsby is a good replacement for my two default IM programs. Hopefully its rough edges will get smoothed over with future updates. If not, I can always go back to my search for the One IM Program to Rule Them All.