Your visual Identity across the world wide web is your Gravatar – short for Globally recognized Avatar.
The very idea of this service is to have consistency across all the online platforms that you choose to associate with. You will be identified with your Gravatar whenever you surf the Internet. In other words, an image that you choose as your Gravatar will feature next to every comment or post that you make on any site that supports this service.
If you are a keen participant on various forums and enjoy sharing your views via comments, then this is definitely something you shouldn’t ignore.
Do bear in mind though, that only a site that supports Gravatar will be able to pull your Gravatar to display next to your comments. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are some of the popular sites that haven’t still extended support to it.
How can you leverage a Gravatar?
Use a Gravatar to build your brand. Regular interaction at different places on the web will ensure that your Gravatar (YOU) gets noticed.
Promote your Product/Brand
You can feature your product’s logo as its Gravatar. You can use this for participating and interacting with various online communities. That can get your product a lot of good, non-spammy visibility.
Setting up a Gravatar account
Setting up a Gravatar account is very easy. There are precise instructions for registering. You will need to sign up for WordPress in order to be able to create a Gravatar account. You can choose any picture or image. You will be asked to rate it, because some sites allow only a “G” rating Gravatar. WordPress blogs by default display G-Rated Gravatars only.
How a site fetches your Gravatar
Each site requires you to share your email address in order to register or write a comment. Your comments and your interaction on a site can be associated with your Gravatar only if the same email address is used for registration for both Gravatar as well as the concerned site.
Gravatar is great but…
People have repeatedly voiced concerns about privacy with this service. Each Gravatar supporting site that you engage with, pulls your Gravatar from your Gravatar account. Thus a hashed version of your email id that was used to create your Gravatar is distributed along with your Gravatar all across the web.
While some people argue that a hacker has to get really lucky to reach your email id from this hashed value, nobody has ever clearly denied such possibilities.
Also, if you use different pseudo names on different sites, using a Gravatar will make it look dodgy. Performing a Google Image Search with your Gravatar will return a compilation of your online appearances. You will be identified to be the same person despite several pseudo names.
A Gravatar, if used strategically, can go a long way in creating an online identity for you or for your product. So, go for it!
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