Gravatar – your face on the web


If you still haven’t heard of, or haven’t made yourself one Gravatar – you are missing out.  Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar.  And avatar is the little picture that shows up on all those blogs and forums that you comment on.

The thing is that you can get bored of uploading your picture to each forum and blog that you want to participate in.   What  you can do instead – is create yourself a Gravatar account and upload your picture there.

How does it work?  Very simple.  When you create your Gravatar account, you specify your email address (don’t worry, they won’t sign you up for tonnes of SPAM).  After that, when you comment at someone’s blog and you specify your email address in that comment form, you’ll have your Gravatar picture displayed by your comment once submitted.  Provided three things are true:

  1. You use the same email address in the comment form as the one you specified in your Gravatar account.  Because that’s how the blog will find your picture – by your email address.
  2. The blog or forum that you are commenting at utilizes the Gravatar service.  Of course, every blog and forum is free to choose their own avatar source, but more and more blogs are supporting Gravatar.  That has something to do with WordPress being one of the most popular blogging applications out there, and Automattic, the company behind WordPress, buying Gravatar service and integrating its support into WordPress out of the box some time ago.
  3. The picture that you have uploaded satisfies the age rating that the blog or forum requires.  People are free to upload all sorts of inappropriate images to their Gravatar accounts.  And that’s not what blog owners want to have displayed at their sites often.  So, there is a rating system which is used to specify how appropriate is your picture.

As for the picture itself, I suggest to use your own photo.  This makes your Gravatar unique – nobody will ever pick your picture for their Gravatar unless you are a celebrity or someone is madly in love with you.  And you’ll also recognize your own picture much faster when scrolling through a long discussion which you participated in.

The cool things about Gravatar are:

  • it’s free
  • it supports multiple email addresses (so if you have several identities on the web, you can manage them all from the same Gravatar account)
  • it verifies your email address to make sure it’s you and not somebody else
  • it’s integrated with WordPress out of the box and available as plugin for many other content management systems

What else are you waiting for?  Go get it!

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