I seldom got to current these last few months, but am glad I did today. Hopefully I can figure out the messaging here. I do not go to any other forums, except twitter occasionally.
Messaging friends is easy here. There are two ways - you can click on the little envelope below their avatar in the left-hand column next to any of their comments, or click on "members" where you will find a members list and click on the little envelope in the right-hand column next to their name.