Single Status Update
Has the 'Private Message' service stopped working?
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If only politicians communicated via RMWeb - we might have more transparency!
In all seriousness, I don't think there is anything wrong with the interface as it is. I would instinctively look for PMs in the top right of a page, and surely that status update box being right next to the other public status updates should be clear enough for people to understand what it does. Perhaps taking away the ability to send a status update 'to' a person would be a better approach?
Agreed and if I click on your profile, the box that I'd type in does say "write a public message on.....", so anyone who can read, should know that the comment they are about to type isn't private. However, I assume that some people don't care whether it's 'public' or 'private' and don't consider it any different to posting comments on their friend's profiles in Facebook.
I'd just leave the interface and functionality as it is. If people want to send private messages, then it's not to difficult to find the function top right and if they don't care who sees their message, then it doesn't really matter where they post. The rest of us an just ignore it.