How do I get started with the Instant Messaging Service?

To set up the service:

  1. Create an account -to do this:


  2. Set up your Instant Messaging software:
    • The easiest way to do this is to bypass Instant Message software altogether and use Boreal online chat system instead.  You can access this system by going to Then proceed to step 3.
    • Otherwise, you can set up a separate IM software package on your computer.  NOTE:  You can use any software that supports the XMPP, or Jabber protocol.  Some (but definitely not all) software is listed on these pages: and  Boreal recommends Pidgin, which you can download free from  The following instructions are for Pidgin, but can probably be used for other clients as well:
      1. Download and install the Pidgin software on your computer.
      2. Start the software.  Click the Accounts menu, and select Manage.
      3. In the window that appears, click the Add button.
      4. Another window will appear - fill in the following information:
        Protocol: XMPP
        Screen name: The username you selected in step 1
        Resource: leave as Home
        Password: The password you selected in step 1
        Local Alias: Pick a nickname.  When you send a message, this is what the recipient will see as who the message came from.
        Account Setup Screen
      5. Click the "remember password" box if you don't want to have to type in your password every time, then click the Save button.
      6. Your software is now set up and ready to go.


  3. Start IM-ing!  Once you're set up, of course you'll want to start sending messages! (Note that the person you're sending the message to must also have an instant messaging account somewhere.)  Here's how to send a message using:
    • Boreal's online chat system:
      1. Go to  You'll see a login screen - Log in using the username and password you created in step 1.  Do NOT include or after your username on this screen.
        Chat login screen
      2. A new window will open, showing your contacts or buddies.  Before you can send a message to someone using this system, you must have them set up as a buddy.  To do this:
        1. Click the + icon at the bottom of the window.  A new window will appear.
        2. Enter your buddy's username in the "Send subscription to" field.  Note that you must include the after your buddy's username - ex if his username is joeblow, enter  Then click the Send button.
          Send subscription screen
        3. Assuming your buddy is online, he or she will receive a message saying you want to add them to your roster.  To accept this request they need to click the "Allow" button on this message.  A "Send subscription to" window will automatically open to request that you allow this person to add you to his roster.  They should click "Send" on this window.
          Buddy approval screen
        4. Now you'll receive a message saying your buddy wants to add you to his or her roster - click "Allow" on this screen and your buddy will be set up, and will appear in your list of buddies.
      3. In your list of buddies, you'll see a lit light bulb next to each buddy who's currently online.
        Main IM screen
      4. Click your buddy's name in this list to send him or her a message.  A new window will open.  Enter your message in the bottom box on this window and hit <Enter>. 
        Chat window
      5. Your buddy will receive your message.  When they reply their reply will show up in the top box of this window.
        Chat window


    • The Pidgin software:
      1. Open your Pidgin software.
      2. Click the Buddies menu, then select "New Instant Message".
      3. Enter the name of the person you want to send the message to on the next screen.  Note that if you're sending it to another Boreal Instant Messaging member, the name will be their Instant Messaging - ex
        Instant Messaging Contact Screen
      4. Click OK. A messaging window will appear.  Type your message in the bottom half of the window and hit <Enter>.  The message will be sent.  If the person replies, you'll see their reply in the top half of the window.
        Instant Messaging Screen

      A couple notes: Before you can send someone a message, they must approve you.  When you first send a message to someone they'll see an alert in their software saying that you want to allow them as a "buddy".  They can click to approve this request, at which point they'll see your message.

      If you're going to send messages a lot to a particular person, you can add them to your "Buddy" list.  In Pidgin, click the Buddies menu  and select "Add Buddy".  In the window that appears enter your Buddy's name - ex.  Optionally, enter a nickname for that person in the Alias field.  Click the Add button and that person will receive an alert asking them to approve you as a buddy.  Once they do, they'll show up in your buddies list, and you can send them a message by double-clicking their name in the list. 

Click here for information on electronic meetings.