This is a two-fer. Or even a three-fer depending on what equipment you have. While making one change you get to make others for free.
I find the little AOL running man to be annoying. If a person doesn’t select an image for their iChat ID, iChat defaults to that little AOL icon. Depending on how many iChat contacts you have, you can have a bunch of them. Ah, but you don’t have to. You are in charge. You can put your own images in. They will only be in place on your machine so you can be as “selective” as you want to be.
Open iChat, and open your Buddy List (Command +1) if it doesn’t open automatically. Control-click on the name you want to work with. They don’t have to be on line. When the window opens, click on Show Profile > Address Card Tab.
Drag and drop the picture or icon you want to use and click the box next to “Always Use This Picture” checkbox. Here is the card for my friend Craig.
Oh yeah, and that two-fer? Click the button that says “Show in Address Book” and that same picture will be added to the person’s V-card in your address book, and if you use Bento, it will be added there as well. And, if you have an iPhone, it will be added there as well.
This only works from this direction. You can’t add an image in Address Book and have it automatically show up in iChat.