messaging madness

Earlier this year I wrote a post called “email madness” about the generally alarming increase in the number of emails I receive per year. I was thinking about producing one of those posts again this year when a friend shared this post on XMPP (aka. Jabber) and IRC.

I’ve been on IRC for approximately a year and a half. I dabbled when I was a kid, but the ocean of networks was too vast, the waves of channels too deep, and the riptide of conversation flow (or lack thereof) too strong. I didn’t really spend much time on chat programs when I was in high school, just a little on LiveJournal.

Flash forward to 2020, I use:

  1. Signal. Which I know is Problematic.
  2. IRC: Four different networks and Bitlbee (connecting via my IRC client) for Discord, Slack, and XMPP (without OMEMO)1
  3. XMPP (Jabber)2 with OMEMO encryption
  4. WhatsApp (yes, I know)
  5. iMessages/SMS
  6. Briar (well, I have it installed, at least)

Oh and there’s also shit like Franz which is just a modified chromium browser that runs the web versions of several tragically popular services (Slack/Office365/etc). Just open a seperate browser window ffs.

Just as an exercise, here’s the number of people i talk to on a regular basis on each platform

Platform ‘Core’ People Others
Signal 8 ~20
IRC 5 ~15
Discord (via IRC) 1 0
Slack (via IRC) 3 eh
XMPP 4 0
WhatsApp 2 0
iMessages/SMS 2 everybody else I guess?
Briar 0 0

IRC people being people I trade direct messages with.

To put it another way…

thanks, june

  1. Bitlbee’s XMPP Module doesn’t support OMEMO encryption but instead supports OTR message encryption. OTR is kinda shit in comparison. OTOH when you’re on a server you control talking to another person on a server they control, the message is encrypted server to server. Unless the server is compromised, the message is functionally secure without OMEMO or OTR. ↩︎

  2. how bad is your marketing that most people still call ‘XMPP’ ‘Jabber?’ Or don’t know what you mean until you say ‘Jabber?’ ↩︎