If you’ve ever read a post on a blog and noticed a small photo or image associated with each author, or associated with authors of comments, then you’ve seen an ‘avatar’.
A few years ago, Gravatar launched as a way to allow people to store an avatar in a single location, and it would automatically be used on blogs utilizing Gravatar technology.
The way it works is you simply create a Gravatar account, providing the email address you want to associate with your avatar, and upload your avatar image.
The magic happens behind the scene when you create a post or comment. The blog you’d just commented on looks up your email address on the Gravatar server and provides the image on file.
If you want to update your avatar, just change the image at Gravatar and you’re done…everywhere Gravatar-supporting site you ever left a comment at will use your update image.
As an aside, I use Gravatar here. Leave a comment and if you have a Gravatar avatar, you’ll see it appear. If you don’t have one though, you’ll see a very cool kiladescope pattern called an ‘identicon’. This is another Gravatar feature that creates and stores unique, math-based avatar images for folks without avatars. The idea is that everyone gets an image…consistant with their online identity.
Very cool, and community building too boot!