What is a Gravatar?

The Gravatar service is a program that users around the world can use to create their own personal avatar that is recognized globally. Gravatar stands for “globally recognized avatar.”

People all around the world use these graphic icons to represent themselves and give a face to their email, social media, blogs, etc. In WordPress for example your Gravatar is located in the top right hand side of the Administration Panels where you develop your blog, and can also be found anywhere you comment on anyone else’s content on any WordPress site around the world.

The Gravatar system features two services. First, it allows the user to create a visual identity avatar. Second, it creates an online portfolio. If enabled on WordPress or other sites using Gravatars, a Gravatar profile hover card will appear when someone hovers over their Gravatar. Click the Gravatar and the user is taken to the online profile.

Gravatar allows the creator and webmaster to control certain content and ability to configure their system to set a Identicon if the user has no registered Gravatar.

A Gravatar is a representation that any one individual chooses to identify themselves to the world, and can be any sorts of icons with certain limitations such as:

  • It should be 2048 pixels wide or less
  • It will always be displayed as a square
  • And it usually displayed 80 pixels by 80 pixels

As above mentioned normally Gravatars will be displayed at 80 pixels by 80 pixels – however they can be also enlarged or shrank anywhere from 1px up to 2048px. One thing to keep in mind is that many users have lower resolution on their equipment, so requesting larger sizes may result in bad pixelation and/or low-quality images.

Also with Gravatars a user can register their account through their personal email address and upload whatever image they want to be associated to them and their accounts for each email address. Anytime the user uses any of these email addresses, it will be accompanied with this avatar.

How You Can Create Your Own Gravatar

Though you can create a Gravatar with whatever image you want it is recommended you choose wisely as this image will be seen around the world and it represents you, your business, your email, comments, blogs, in essence this is what people will be seeing when they see your content posted on any number of accounts throughout the social media network.

Integrating Gravatars into WordPress

Top 4 Reasons to Use Gravatars

  1. Users don’t have to register to every site to take advantage or Gravatars
  2. Users can change your avatar in one place rather than having to visit every account
  3. It takes very little effort to create and use a Gravatar
  4. No additional Plugin is necessary

The History of Gravatars

The system of Gravatar was established in 2007 by Tom Preston-Werner, and later in that same year Gravatar version 2.0 was released and it was announced that 32,000 new users had signed up. In 2007, he sold Gravatar to Automattic, which integrated Gravatars into WordPress core fairly quickly. As Preston-Werner looked back on those early days, he admits that it was his pride, persistence, and passion that kept him going in spite of the setbacks.

For an entrepreneur, the line between horrible mistake and runaway success can be so thin that even Kate Moss would be envious. I lived with Gravatar for nearly four years before that line even became thick enough to measure.

As it’s become one of my favorite parables, I’ll save the details of how I came up with the idea for Gravatar for a future post. What’s important to know is that the idea was spawned not from a business perspective, but from a desperate desire to create something new in the world of blogging.

Under Automattic’s addition of Gravatar into WordPress.com, as a WordPress Plugin for self-hosted WordPress users, then integrating it into the core of WordPress, Gravatar has become essential as a globally recognized avatar on WordPress sites everywhere.

The most notable improvements in Gravatar’s evolution so far are being able to manipulate images that were already hosted on the Internet, and ealy switching between accounts and images. Recently, “Gravatar Premium” allowed unlimited e-mail addresses and Gravatars per account.

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