Eric, Shhhhh...don't tell anyone. I just asked Sylvia the other day, how to use it myself.
Once you write something in the small box in the lower left corner....hit the 'enter key' on your key board.
I kept looking for something to 'click on'...like 'send'......still laughing at my self.
Not sure about the 'private chat' question...? Looks like everyone 'signed in', sees it.
Well, I always thought it was just on the home page! Lookee lookee, The chat is down on the bottom right of every page! How clever! That explains the chat beeping when I am not on the home page.
There is both a public chat, and a private chat. To use the private chat, click on a persons name on the right half of the chat window and some options pop down, one of which is private chat.
I just added to the instructions about Chat on the How to Use this Site page given some of the questions that have popped up here (and David, I think you just hadn't had your coffee yet...). Would you guys read what I said and let me know if you would say anything differently or add anything? Gracias.