I have been using Gravatar for some time and wanted to write an article highlighting the value of this online service/tool.
This is a short review of the functionalities and advantages of Gravatar.
On first sign-up, Gravatar allows you to associate your email address with an image (typically a photo of yourself). Once you have set up your Gravatar link (email address to image association) and you then go on to sign up to some other website, or forum, that website will interrogate Gravatar, using your email address to pull back an image that you want to use, against your name/email address.
This means that you can change the image you want to use in just one place and then your image (against a given email address) is updated all over the internet (specifically, on any websites which use Gravatar).
If you have a number of different email addresses – which I do – then you can associate a different image with each one.
This is handy in making a distinction between me as a professional person, and me as a social person.
I have been spending more time recently doing some business networking, so being able to quickly share some basic information about me with business contacts is valuable.
There are plenty of other ways of achieving some of what Gravatar does, but I especially like the simplicity and ease of use of Gravatar. It is also (at time of writing – May, 2023) free to use.
Gravatar is a snapshot of the different sides to me. No need to scroll through months of content, or someone’s well-designed business history or biography.
Gravatar started by being a service which associates email addresses with images (‘avatars’). It has, however, expanded slightly, so that you are now able to create a profile which allows you to show some images (pictures and photographs), as well as to link to other associated web resources.
“So what?” you may be saying, “Plenty of websites allow me to do that – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name a few…”
The way that I think of Gravatar is as an online business card, whereas I think of my LinkedIn profile as being more of an online CV/resume/portfolio.
There are certainly times when you want to direct people to your full CV but, equally, there are times when you simply want people to have some basic contact details about you – and perhaps a jumping-off point to find out more about you. Gravatar provides this in an attractive, simple format, which is also widely accepted as a reference service.
Websites which do make use of Gravatar include Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress(.com), and GitHub – to name a few. A number of different forums make use of Gravatar – far too many to name individually.
If you have a WordPress website (hosted in some way), and you have comments enabled so that people can make comments on your posts/blogs, then you are able, very simply, to make use of Gravatar, so that a person’s comments show the image that the person has set up in Gravatar (if they have one).
There are websites which do NOT make use of Gravatar. Sadly, this includes Google, but the advantages of this platform are genuinely worth sharing, nevertheless!
As an aside, if you are someone in the business of creating online services or web apps, it is well worth making use of Gravatar for getting profile info on a person! It is great – the major advantage for your users is that they are able to control their associated images very simply – and in one place.
In conclusion – sign up to Gravatar; associate an image with your email address; and make a profile, too, whilst you are at it.