Problem: I live in Canada (and Canadian's love Facebook), no matter how awesome, Twitter or any of the other microblogging services are most of my friends still use facebook, nearly exclusively. I like my friends, I want to know what's up with them, however I don't want to login to facebook 5,10,20 times a day to see what's up.

Wouldn't it be great if Facebook status updates could funnelled into status updates into my Gtalk/XMPP/Jabber or any other instant messenger.  But how... Googling around didn't turn anything useful up.  I was stuck, I got an RSS Feed from Facebook and resigned myself to reading it occasionally. Then iafter reading a ReadWriteWeb Article on I started thinking it may be possible to feed the facebook RSS feed and get IM facebook status updates that way. Unfortunately, notifixious is dealing with a problem regarding Facebook RSS feeds, however, in my travels I discovered that FriendFeed could rebroadcast the RSS feed and Facebook status updates via IM possible! + FriendFeed - Helping Facebook Instant Message is a service that polls RSS feeds and sends the updates to you via GTalk/XMPP. So generally you could just plug in the rss feed that you get from Facebook and bingo, bango, bongo you'd have Facebook updates coming to you via IM, but there's a problem that stops that from working at the moment. So it's time to introduce FriendFeed. While FriendFeed is generally used to consolidate one's online posting activity so that friends can stalk (I mean, keep up with) all your online activity in one RSS feed, however, with a little encouragement we can use FriendFeed to re-broadcast the Facebook RSS feed in a form that likes :). [Update 2009-02-16: There's something funny with either friendfeed's news feed or else it seems that I only tend to get a portion of the status updates. Not all status updates come through]

Here's how:

  1. Log in to Facebook
  2. Click on the Friends Section in the Top Navigation
  3. Find the "Friends' Status Feed" on the Left of the Page
  4. Copy the link location to the clipboard
  5. go to FriendFeed and get a new account. We need a new account because we don't want this account to be crowded up with all the personal stuff that generally gets collected in FriendFeed.
  6. After you've worked through the registration process, Click Add/Edit Services (it's on the right)
  7. Click See All 59 services at the bottom of the screen
  8. Click on "Custom RSS/Atom" (it's under Miscellaneous)
  9. Enter the URL for your facebook status updates RSS and click "Import Custom RSS/Atom"
  10. Go to your FreindFeed homepage and get the RSS feed link address for that page (It's way at the bottom)
  11. Go to and register
  12. Go to "Settings" and work your way through the Gtalk/XMPP setup process
  13. Click "Add Source" and paste in the Friends' Status Feed Url that we copied out of FriendFeed And Click "Go"
  14. Choose how you'd like to be notified, for me it's my Gtalk/XMPP username
  15. A confirmation IM immediately saying that updates will be coming soon

That's it! Facebook updates by IM. Wait patiently for one of your friends to post some banal detail of their daily life :) and enjoy reading about in close to real-time via your favorite IM protocal!

What about Other Status/Microblog Services Works with Gtalk/XMPP/Jabber out of the Box

One thing that I really like about is that you CAN send and receive updates from your people through Gtalk/XMPP/Jabber. This is great, because you can have updates from your friends, or followers coming into your life in real time. It is so handy when you're at an event and people are sending updates about not just life changing thoughts, but activities that are happening at the time. This is great, my same old Gtalk chat application all the updates streaming in, realtime. Awesome!

Twitter can work with Gtalk/XMPP/Jabber with some Fiddling

I searched around for a way to do this with twitter. And sure enough is offering a similar service. You can sign up with them, hand over your twitter username and password. (ugh, ouch! who are these guys anyways? But so far so good haven't seen any rogue posts yet.) and then just like does out of the box updates from your twitter friends start flowing into your Gtalk/XMPP/Jabber instant messenger. It's great requires no special apps, only downside is handing over those login credentials. At this point I consider this a necessary evil. Message to twitter: seize the future start making Instant messenger Support Native to your platform. Please!

Technical Reflections on Polling (skip if not interested)

RSS has one really big flaw, you have to poll the server to see if anything new is there.  This means that every RSS feed you subscribe to means that a computer now has to poll that site to see if there is anything new there.  Which is no big deal if you've just got a few subscribers, but if you've got tons like twitter, you're servers are getting polled ALL THE TIME, so we're eating up band width to find out if anything is new on the site.  This is at least one reason why twitter's fail whale is so well known.  That's a lot of requests all the time, twitter limits polling to once a minute, jsut to keep their servers noses above water. XMPP is the future, this is a good first step.