In my training and coaching, I get this question a lot: “How can I get my photo to show up when I comment on a blog?” This is where I explain gravatars.
Here is a simple FAQ to help you along the way.
What is a gravatar and why should I use one?
Gravatar stands for “Globally Recognized Avatar”. Simply put, it is an online representation of you. You can use a picture of yourself, your company logo or even just a piece of art. On WordPress blogs, the owner of the blog has the option to allow or disallow gravatars. If they choose to show them, they can also choose a default gravatar that commenters get in their place of their own. That’s where you will find your image as the head profile in a gray box, a gravatar logo, or some strange looking little character.
What should I use for my gravatar?
Unless you represent a company that you really feel you need to brand through your comments, I usually recommend a photo of yourself. Now you may be saying, I hate my photos. I’m with you there. But think about it. On blogs or forums, don’t most bloggers like to see the person behind the comment? Although I may not have a pretty face, I’m branding who I am, so people get to know me and my business.
I’m not a company, but is my photo really the only choice?
No. There could be lots of reasons you don’t want your photo in public. Problems in the past with domestic violence, harassment or stalking experiences, you name it. In that case, you will want to find another image that works for you.
Where do I get a gravatar and how does it work?
Simply go to gravatar.com. When you open your free account, you will be asked for your email address. So whenever you leave a comment, and put in that email, it will automatically pull in your gravatar. If you have more than one email you use, you can always add the others to the list. In a nutshell, you can have one gravatar for all your emails, or different gravatars for different email addresses.
Should I change it occasionally?
That’s up to you. Obviously, if you are using your logo, that will stay the same unless you change it. Some people want to set a certain photo and not have to worry about it anymore. But we all change. We lose hair, or it changes color, or we gain a few pounds. It’s tempting to keep that younger looking image. But does it really reflect you?
Can my gravatar ever give people the wrong impression about me?
Of course it can. Remember, your avatar reflects who you are. Whatever you are doing in your photo gives people a sense of your personality. Are your arms crossed? Are you pointing at us? Are you laughing— or screaming? Think of what that says about you. If that is you, that’s fine. But don’t think you have to do something freaky just to be unique.
Anywhere else my gravatar might pop up?
Yes. Beyond comments on sites, you never know where it might be pulled in and for what reason. For example, the Gravatar widget for WordPress lets you create a nice little bio in your blog or website’s sidebar that pulls in your avatar.
So what do you think about gravatars?
Do you have one?
Do you like mine?