A typed chat works like this: Each time you or your chat partner types something and then presses Return, the text appears on both of your screens (Figure 13-5).
Figure 13-5. As you chat, your comments always appear on the right. If you haven’t yet created a custom icon, you’ll look like a blue globe or an AOL running man. You can choose a picture for yourself either in your own Contacts card or right in Messages. And Web links your pals paste into messages are perfectly clickable—your Web browser leaps right up to take you to the site your friend has shared.
Messages displays each typed comment next to an icon, which can be any of these three things:
A picture the other person added. If the buddy added her own picture—to her own copy of Messages, a Jabber program, AOL Instant Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger—then it will be transmitted to you, appearing automatically in the chat window. Cool!
A picture you added. If you’ve added a picture of that person to the buddy list or to Contacts, you see it here instead. (After all, your vision of what somebody looks like may not match his own self-image.)
Generic. If nobody’s done any icon dragging of any sort, you get a generic silhouette icon.
To choose a graphic to use as your own icon, click the square picture to the right of your own name at the top of the buddy list. From the pop-up palette of recently selected pictures, choose ...