If you’ve ever made a comment or visited the Comments links, you may have noticed an icon with the grey shape of a head, or lately a blue logo with the letter G (rotated). The icon/logo is a reserved space for an avatar, or in the case of WordPress, for a Gravatar.
What is a Gravatar? I quote a little from the Wikipedia article:
Gravatar (an abbreviation for globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally-unique avatars which was created by Tom Werner.
On Gravatar, users can register an account based on their email address, and upload an avatar to be associated with the account. Gravatar plugins are available for popular blogging software; when the user posts a comment on such a blog that requires an e-mail address, the blogging software checks whether that e-mail address has an associated avatar at Gravatar. If so, the Gravatar is shown along with the comment. Gravatar support is provided natively in WordPress.
What is an avatar? Again a partial quote from Wikipedia:
avatar is a computer user’s representation of himself/herself or alter ego, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other communities. It is an “object” representing the embodiment of the user. The term “avatar” can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.
You can sign up for a free Gravatar, at http://en.gravatar.com/ where there is, on the home page, a 2 minute 9 second video that explains what you have to do to get as many Gravatars for as many email accounts as you like. You don’t even need to prepare an image for a Gravatar as you can crop it online for the part of the image you want to show, and Gravatar crops and resizes it.
I signed up today. The Gravatar automatically appears on my Blog page in the comments sections.