1. Many areas of our site require that a member has at least 1 post made on the forums before they can be used. Any post works in any forum, other than Games and Humor, will work. Suggestion: New members often post in the 'New Members Welcome: Introduce Yourself' topic in the Lounge forum.
2. The little person next to your name is your notifications: That is not a chat or message area. You can set your notifications to alert you for many elements on the site such as new chapters from stories you follow, or new stories/chapters from authors you follow, messages from other members, replies to topics you follow, replies to status updates you create or comment in, etc... To customize, please use the my settings area through the 'Edit My Profile' button on your profile or in the drop menu next to your name in the upper right corner and use the 'Notifications Options' area in the column of options for your settings.
3. The envelope is the site PM system: To access your site PMs, please click on the envelope. That will show you the active messages you have received, above that are 2 options: View all messages takes you to the PM system to view your messages or Compose New takes you to a blank message form. Through that area you can send a PM to any member, as long as you know their username. The system has a predictive field once you start typing in the name.
You can also click on the 'Send me a message' button on a member's profile to PM them specifically. This brings up a small floating message area. If you wish to use the extra features use the 'Use Full Editor' button. This will take you to the main message area.
*PM'ing more than one person: You can send a multi-person conversation by using the Other recipients form. Invitation means all members invited can view the posts or copy sends an individual conversation to each person added only they can see.
*Attach Files: This is a good way to share documents or images. There is a 512kb attachment limit for your account. Use the browse window to choose your image and then add it to the post with the 'Attach this file' button. When replying to a PM you may find this option by clicking 'Use Full Editor' under the text box at the bottom.