If you aren't using Jabber/XMPP yet and want to start, it might be
easier than you thought.
If you have a Gmail account, download
their Google Talk client and you can
There's a bunch of organizations participating in the IM
Federation (as well as
Pyxos.net). You can sign up for an account with
many of the organizations' servers. If you would like an account at any
of Pyxos' domains feel free to contact me.