Headshot Fur Bulletin board readers are accustomed to using icons/avatars to represent their identities in online discussions. But because blogs are scattered to the wind across a bazillion servers, this capability is not generally available on weblogs. What is consistent across your participation in multiple blogs is your email address (even though it’s never displayed publicly, it’s usually required for comment posting). Gravatar leverages this consistency by letting you create a (free) account with them. Your avatar then appears automatically when you participate on any Gravatar-enabled blog.

All a blog owner has to do is add a few lines of code to their templates (or install a plugin), and the right avatars show up in the discussion automatically.

Auttomatic (the hippy/corporate entity behind WordPress) has acquired Gravatar, giving the the service the juice it needed to keep performance up. I’ve enabled Gravatar on Birdhouse — set yourself up a free Gravatar account and watch all of your historical posts on this site grow a magic tumor avatar.

Aside: WordPress now powers almost 1% of the web. Don’t tell me it’s just a blogging tool.

Music: Van Morrison :: Madame George

12 Replies to “Gravatar”

  1. David – Cool. But looks like formatting is going to be tricky when there isnt enough comment to wrap text around the image. Will have to work on that.

    mnep: What I mean is that WP is *thought of* as a blogging tool because that’s it’s primary focus, but that its usage as a CMS for a wide variety of types of sites is on the rise, because it actually offers a lot more of that kind of functionality than meets the eye – a lot of sites you’d never expect are WP-driven actually are.

  2. Hey Matt – When i view source and grab the generated URL to your gravatar, I get a 404. Not true for the others here. My guess is that you signed this post with an email other than the one on record at Gravatar?

  3. I’m having trouble with gravatars on my site, and after much tinkering have come to the conclusion that something on gravatar’s end is borked. I saw that you have at least some gravatars displaying here, and even after hand-editing your working ones to replace my hash it doesn’t work, so I’m going to post a comment here and see if my gravatar shows up here. If not, then we know something on their end is messed up.

    Sorry to hijack your post for my own purposes.

  4. After being shocked to see it displaying here, I realized that I had just re-selected my gravatar a few minutes prior to coming here. Thinking that there may just be a delay in updating the new gravatar I then updated a couple other accounts that I had, waited a little while and found that they too work now.

    So, anyone who is finding that their gravatars aren’t showing up, just log in to gravatar to re-select your avatar again. It’ll work in a few minutes.

    I suspect this has something to do with their recent changes after their acquisition. In any case, thanks for your part in my testing.

  5. I routinely put “nospam” in my domain to disguise my e-mail from spambots. I know you hide e-mails, but not all bloggers do. Now useful things like “notify me of followup comments” and now this gravatar feature make me want to give up the real e-mail. So here goes. (May gmail shield me.)

  6. Jeb, I think you’d be really hard-pressed to find a blog that reveals commenter’s email addresses – that would be, like, so 1995. I really don’t think you need to worry about address harvesting from commenting on blogs these days (and if you do find one, nail the owner to the wall about it).

  7. I’ve actually created a Gravatar class if you click the link in my name. Loosely coupled and works like a dream – it also has a cache with an expiration date for the avatar – to save on loading times. It can merely load the avatar in locally.

    Adam @

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