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Windows Live is the hub of Live Messenger's social features. You'll need to sign into Live and add the social networks and services you want to see in Live Messenger.
Badges are all the rage on social sites and services, and Live Messenger is no exception. Messenger badges add extra emoticons and actions, and are intended to show support for causes and brands.
The new Live Messenger social view can take up a lot of screen space, but it's not crowded or overloaded with information as it only displays updates from your 'favourite' contacts.