January 11, 2010 | Branding
An avatar is the small icon that represents you, on places like blog comments, forums, and other Web sites. A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. Setting up an avatar individually on every site you visit can be tedious, so establishing on gravatar will let you avoid that set-up on any Web site that links with the gravatar system.
Also, it is a way to consistent identify to yourself, and build a cohesive and recognizable brand. This may mean personal branding, corporate branding or a combination.
Pick an image
Considering this gravatar is an image that represents you on many different places across the internet, you want to take some care in choosing an image. This is really essential decision-making for building your brand identity. You may want to read my presentation Personal vs. Professional Branding on the Social Web for some ideas about whether you represent yourself with something like a headshot or a logo.
If you choose a portrait of yourself (headshot photo for example), make sure it’s professionally shot, well-lit and above all a clear shot. You can get creative with cropping it a bit, or having something in the image reveal something about you. Are you at the ocean? or wearing a suit, etc.? You can turn a portrait into something more cartoony or illustrative, but think about what that says about you (goofy, superhero, etc.)
Or you can choose something else to represent you. Usually, if it’s not a photo of you, it’s your logo. Remember, that avatars are generally square so figure out how to crop your logo into that shape.
Sign up for a Gravatar account
Once you have an image ready, go to gravatar.com to link your image to yourself. As mentioned above, gravatars are square, but you can do the sizing and cropping through their web site, if you don’t have something like Photoshop to work with.
Your gravatar is linked to you via your email address. So if you log into a blog to post a comment, for example, it’s registering with that email that will pull your gravatar with you.
Here’s a video that explains how it works.
This blog is set-up to link with the gravatar system. If you’d like to post a comment and see what your gravator looks like, go ahead.