If you’ve noticed that some folks, in fact many folks that post comments on this blog or others have cute custom pictures next to their names, but never knew where they came from, this post is for you.
This blog is a WordPress self-hosted website. It, like others, uses the Gravatar system, allowing you to associate a picture of your choice with your email address, or even multiple email addresses.
If you visit the Gravatar website, you can quickly setup whatever email address you like to use for commenting and associate your picture to it.
You can also add more email addresses to your account, and more pictures, and set different pictures to different addresses, and yada yada.
Gravatar is tied in not only to self-hosted WordPress, but also is a part of the WordPress.com blog community, and I also believe that other blogging platforms and software styles can incorporate it into their comments using addons/plugins.
So what this means for you is, if you comment on blogs anywhere, chances are they request you to enter your email address, and mention that it will not be displayed in your comment. This is true. The blog software takes your email address, bounces it against Gravatar and checks to see if you have a picture. If so, it grabs it and puts it next to your comment.
Viola! Your comment, personalized!
(Yes, I said viola on purpose. It’s a lovely stringed instrument, well worth my enthusiasm. What?)
I wanted to let you know, because more and more I see people with pictures, but I never really see anyone explaining where they come from. And don’t we all love to display our interests or personality when we chat with each other? I know I enjoy seeing that grinning bear face next to MY comments!
So please, take the time to visit Gravatar and set a picture. It’ll be easy, and lots of fun. Plus, I’ll quickly learn to recognise you by your picture.
I LIKE seeing your pictures!
If you happen to BE a blogger who uses WordPress, check your Discussion settings, and you’ll see that there is an area for Avatars. If you turn that on, it will enable the Gravatar system. Under that are different options for what to display if the person does NOT have a personalized picture already set up. I had previously been using the default called “Wavatar”, which puts a silly picture next to a person’s name based on their email address. That’s what it means by ‘generated’, it determines what generic picture to use by the email address, so that person always gets the same one. I just changed mine to a new option, “Blank”. So, if someone doesn’t have their own picture, then they won’t have any at all. I think that will work better.
Other blogging platforms, like I said, can add Gravatars using addons or plugins. You’re smart folks, so I won’t insult you by telling you where to go to get neat stuff for your blog. I’m just mentioning what to look for if you haven’t gone searching for it before.
Also, I heartily encourage you, if you have ANY control over it, to allow commenters to place comments to your posts by their name and URL, followed by whatever security you use, like Captcha. I know some blogs require special accounts to place comments, and I’ll tell you, half of those error out for me, so I just don’t comment. I’ve tried, and especially from work, the special accounts hang up. I’ve never had a problem leaving comments anyplace that uses the Name/URL system, though. Just a word to the wise. You DO want people to tell you they loved your post, right?