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Creating and Using A Gravatar Image on Blogs and Other Sites

So you’ve been looking at a few blogs, and you see that some of the comments have a little image next to them. How did those people do that? A person comments, and there’s a custom picture sitting there next to their comment! They have an account with Gravatar.com, and you can too. This post will explain how to set up your “gravatar” so that when you comment on blogs, you too will have that custom image you been longing for.

What is a “Gravatar”?

A gravatar, according to Gravatar.com, is a globally recognized avatar. Got it? Well, for those that are utterly confused by what I just wrote, I’ll break it down for you.

my avatar and gravatarAn avatar is a graphical image, like my little kitty to the left, that represents someone. The kitty is my avatar, and everywhere I go, I use this same image. He’s pretty much my own personal brand that I have created for myself. My softer side as it were. :) Yes, Hellboy and I have something in common, we both love cute, furry little kitty cats.

So, just like you can instantly recognize a can of Coke (the soda of course), where ever you see this image on the Internet, you can suspect that I’ve been there. Not always of course, there could be others using the same image as I am, but what are the chances that someone has a fluffy white kitty that looks ready to hop on the back of a motorbike and ride? Not many I suspect. I like to think he’s in the middle of saying ‘Let’s motor!’. Silly, I know.

So, with that said, a “globally recognized avatar” would be the same thing, but on a global scale. When I go from blog to blog, I enter the same email address that I used to sign up with at gravatar.com, and if the blog has support for gravatar images, then when I post a comment, it will reach out to gravatar.com and get my image for display next to my comment. If the blog doesn’t support gravatar’s, then you won’t see an image.

Setting up your gravatar image

To set up your gravatar, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find your Image – Find yourself an image you would want to use as a gravatar. You’re going to have to supply one, so you might as well find one first right? Right.

  2. Sign-Up with Gravatar.com - Visit Gravatar.com and sign up. You will need to supply the site with an email address. This is the key to using gravatar’s. When you enter a comment on a blog that supports gravatars, you will use the same email address that you did to sign up with gravatar.com.

    Once you have entered an email address, you will need to check your email for a confirmation email from them. Click the link found in the email and continue to the next step.

  3. Confirm your Email – Now that you have confirmed your email with gravatar.com, you can enter in a nickname and your password for accessing the gravatar.com administration pages.

    Your nickname needs to be unique amongst all the other gravatar users. Why? Because they have something up their sleeves that they are not letting on to, and I believe it may also be due to their integration with WordPress. Anyway, find a nickname and enter your password twice, then hit the “Signup” button.

  4. Upload your Image – It’s time to upload your image. Click the “Add one by clicking here!” link to be taken to a selection page. You can provide an image from either your hard drive, an image on the Internet (an http address) or from your WordPress.com account if you have a pre-existing avatar there.

    If you choose your hard drive, click the “Browse” button to point to the image on your local disk drive and click “next”. If you choose an Internet address, paste in the URL to the image you want to use. If you choose the WordPress option, you should have used the same nickname or email address as your WordPress account. Gravatar.com will automatically find your avatar on the WordPress system and bring it in.

    Supported image types are JPEG, GIF or PNG files.

  5. Crop your Image – Because images can be a variety of shapes and sizes, Gravatar.com will allow you to identify a portion of the image you uploaded that will be used to make your gravatar. You can call it “squaring off” or “cropping an image” as it is officially called. Using your mouse, click and drag a square around the portion of the image you want to identify as the area that will make up your gravatar image. If you want the whole image, then you need to create a square around the whole image. Please note that gravatar’s are sized to exact specifications, which is an 80×80 pixel square. the gravatar interface will automatically shrink whatever selection you make to an 80×80 square. You will see a preview on the right hand side to help you get the picture you want.

    When you are satisfied with your handiwork, simply click the “Crop and Finish!” button on the top right hand side of the page.

  6. Rate your Image – Choose a rating for your gravatar. Obviously, there are those out there that think a severed head or pair of breasts best suits them, others may think Dumbo or some other Disney character. (Never thought I could ever use all those those in the same sentence, but look at me…always surprising myself…). Either way, use your best judgement and select the rating for your gravatar. (Remember, this is going to be your ‘brand’ that people will begin to recognize you with. So be smart about it, especially if you plan on doing any Internet business or serious blogging.)

    The rating is used by web sites to ensure that some graphics do not display if they are beyond a certain rating. I’m not sure how well this actually works. I’d call a pair of boobs pretty tame myself and give them a G rating, but then, the majority of people don’t think like me either, so I’m at their mercy on that one. Unfortunately for the world.

    Click the rating that best describes the level of violence or nudity in your image, as that is what it really boils down to right?

  7. Congratulations! – That’s it! You’ve created a gravatar and you are ready to begin using it. Well, there may be a slight delay in it appearing on other sites actually. I’d give it a few minutes before you try it out, just to be sure. I tried it immediately after creating one, one time, and my browser hung while the web site tried to fetch my newly created gravatar.

Try out your new gravatar!

Go ahead, leave a comment down below and lets see your handiwork. I don’t have any rating level set on my blog, so let them rip! I will, of course, remove anything I find objectionable to my audience and friends, but not until I’ve had a chance to see it.

Leave me a comment below and let me know if this helped you out. Did I miss anything in the process? Did gravatar.com change their site on me and this whole thing is now completely wrong? (some day, that will happen…) Do you need any further assistance getting things to work for you? Just let me know, I’m here to help you out.

I hope you enjoyed this explanation and tutorial on gravatar’s as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please stumble or bookmark with your favorite bookmarking app if you felt this was worthy. If you would like to get more of my writing delivered to you directly, please subscribe to my blog by email, or grab the feed and pop it in your reader.

Peace and love, and let’s see those gravatars!

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