It’s been a long time since I last started an operating system in text-mode only.
Even servers today have a GUI.
Anyway here it seems like someone needs to use instant messaging in text mode, which makes me think that the GUI is not available. Take a look at this summer of Code called gaim-text. It looks like the author really needed it to work on a terminal.
From the screenshots it seems like it actually works pretty well, with buddy list, message windows and so on.
Impressive work, I’d say!