Get Your Avatar Almost Anywhere With Gravatar

The internet is increasingly a social place where we can actually see the things our friends and colleagues are doing across the web. Social networks bring updates from all of our connections together, and RSS feeds help us see what others are writing on their blogs. However, it can still be surprising sometims to stumble upon a random blog post and see that one of our friends have already commented on it. You might recognize what they wrote just from their name, but most often you can easily recognize them from their profile picture.

With the hundereds of sites you might visit over the course of a week, there’s no way you’d have enough time to upload your profile picture to all of the sites you comment on. That’s where Gravatar comes in. This popular service from the folks at Automattic saves profile info for millions of users. Sites across the ‘net, from WordPress blogs to web apps we review here, then automatically find your picture from your email when you register.

Want to get your own Gravatar? Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Gravatar: Your Online ID

With so many sites using Gravatar, it’s almost like your online photo ID. Gravatars, or Globally Recognized Avatars, are small avatar pictures linked to your email address in Gravatar. The avatar pictures beside comments here at AppStorm and millions of other sites are from Gravatar. When you enter your email in a comment, WordPress will automatically grab your Gravatar picture and add it to your comment. If your site is running the new Jetpack plugin, then you can see more profile info about a Gravatar from the Hovercard popover. But it’s not just WordPress sites. Gravatar is used by tons of popular sites and web apps, so taking a few minutes to signup for a Gravatar profile can be a true time saver.

Gravatar's new Hovercards in action

To get your own Gravatar account, just head over to gravatar.com, and enter your email address to signup. Your whole account is tied to your email address, and other sites can then use your email address to automatically find your avatar and profile info. If you have multiple emails you use, signup with your main address, and you can then add multiple addresses to the same account later so you’ll be able to quickly get your avatar no matter what email you use.

Your Gravatar is tied to your email address

Your Favorite Profile Picture, Everywhere

Once you’ve entered your email address, you’ll get a confirmation email and will need to select a username and enter your password. Then you’re ready to upload your picture. If you’ve never had a Gravatar, you’ll usually see the default Gravatar picture or another stock icon when you comment. Alternately, Gravatar can create a dynamic patter avatar for you if you do not upload a picture in your new account. Instead, you can now upload your favorite profile picture: the same one you use on other social networks, or another you’d like to use with Gravatar.

Add your favorite image

Feel free to upload any shape or size of picture, as you can crop and position it the way you want it once it’s uploaded. Gravatar shows how the avatar picture will look in standard comment boxes on the top right, while will show what the full size large avatar (similar to the size Google’s using on Google+) will look like as well. Once you’re done, click Crop and Finish, or if you want to select the whole picture instead of the smaller cropped portion, click the the circle under your picture.

Your Gravatar can be scaled to both standard small and large avatar sizes

More Than Just an Avatar

Once you’ve added your picture, you could call it quits and you’d be fine. Everytime you comment or create an account on a Gravatar-powered site, it will show the picture you just uploaded. However, your Gravatar account can be much more. You can add a brief bio, integrate it with other services you use, add multiple pictures, and show thumbnails of your own websites. To do this, head to the My Account menu, and select Edit My Profile.

Add extra images, email addresses, or more info about you

Enter more info about yourself in the About Me tab, add contact info, and more, all from this profile page. Do note: everything you add here is public, so only add information you feel comfortable sharing. The two nicest features are the options to add additional emails to the account, so your avatar will look the same across the internet. Additionally, the My Links section lets you add sharp-looking thumbnails of your own sites to the bottom of your profile, so others can easily see what else you do online.

Add your sites and online acconts to your profile

Your New Business Card

Once you’re finished, you’ll have a nice looking profile page to share with the world. With custom backgrounds, images, links, and verified services, it’ll be easy to let others know that this is really you. Your Gravatar page’s URL is gravatar.com/your_username, so, for example, my Gravatar page is gravatar.com/maguay. You can then share this, just like you might an About.me or other profile page.

Your new profile page, ready to share with the world

Gravatar includes a number of ways to easily share the contact data you’ve added. Web apps can access your data via JSON, XML, or PHP, and you can also download it as a vCard file to save to your address book program. You can even save a QR code with a link to your Gravatar page to easily share with other smartphone users.

XML, vCard, or QR code: Share your Gravatar the way you want

Conclusion

Gavatar is a nice service that makes the internet a bit more personal. You can save time by adding your picture once, and then anytime you change it, your new picture will show up on all Gravatar powered sites and apps. Plus, the Gravatar profile pages are a rather nice way to make a quick site to share more info about you with the world.

So, if you’ve noticed your comments here at AppStorm don’t include your favorite avatar, go make a Gravatar account with your email address today. Then, you’ll always see the picture you want when you comment.