About Avatars: What’s a Gravatar and Why Do I Need One?

GravatarsEver wonder why avatars or icons show up on some blogs but not on others? If yours doesn’t show up, having a Gravatar can help.

A Gravatar is a free globally recognized avatar, which is an 80×80-pixel icon that travels with you and appears beside your name when you comment on Gravatar-enabled blogs. (Movable Type, WordPress, Blogger and LiveJournal are examples of Gravatar-enabled blog platforms.) Each Gravatar is keyed to an e-mail address, so you can have as many as you want. To make a particular Gravatar image show up when you make a comment on a blog, just enter the e-mail address associated to that image when you make a comment. Gravatars are more flexible than regular avatars, because you can have more than one. If you have multiple blogs, all you need is a different e-mail address for each and you can have as many Gravatars as you need.

And you can even be a little naughty if you want, because there’s an MPAA-style ratings system. This allows you to have an adult version to use on some blogs and Disney-fied versions for others. Webmasters have the ability to control which Gravatars are displayed on their sites, so they can choose whether they want their readers to see the adult avatars. But just in case a Webmaster hasn’t enabled this feature, make sure you remember which e-mail address is attached to each image before you comment, so you don’t end up ruffling feathers in the blogosphere!

Gravatar resources:

Click here to register for a free Gravatar (No registration information is needed, other than an e-mail address.)

Click here to go to the Gravatar blog

Click here for the Gravatar implementor’s guide

Click here for instructions on using gravatars on WordPress.org

Avatar CentralNeed images for your Gravatars? Be sure to visit our Avatar Central, which includes links to free clip art, photos and image modification applications.

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5 Responses to “About Avatars: What’s a Gravatar and Why Do I Need One?”

  1. That is excellent information. I totally signed up!

  2. Cool! I didn’t even know these existed.

  3. Thanks; I’m glad you found this info useful.

    Gravatars are a great free solution. Everyone should get one.

  4. Thank you for making all this stuff so easy! I just signed up. I had vague ideas about what gravatars were, but didn’t realize how it worked. COOL!

  5. You’re welcome, JD. The Gravatar will help your curly tailed kitty cat be seen in more places!

    (For anyone reading this who doesn’t know JD, her avatar is a drawing of a cat.)