How Important is Your Blogging Gravatar?

When I started blogging last spring, everything was new to me. All the WordPress buttons, the spam, the comments, the whole “like” thing, awards, uploading photos, embedding videos, all of it. (and I’m still learning).

I had always been a blog reader, but a passive one. I wasn’t involved.

So when I jumped into the blog-o-sphere, there was a lot to learn.

And one of those things was the Gravatar.

A gravatar is a “globally recognized avatar“. (“An avatar is an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user” – Merriam-Webster). So in other words, a gravatar is a representation of you, as you comment or interact in other ways around the internet.

I had seen them as I wandered the internet in my pre-blogging days. I understood that they represented people. But I didn’t think much about them.

As I set up my blog, I realized that I should make one, and I did it quickly.

I thought (a little bit) about it. “Something that links me to my blog”, I thought. I looked through my photos and grabbed a cup of cappuccino. It was a stretch. But if I was sharing a chat with friends, in comfy chairs (sharechair, get it? πŸ™‚ ) we’d probably have a cup of something with us …..

That was all the thinking I did about it. Very little thinking. A minute, maybe. It was done, and I moved on.

Now, after months of blogging, I’m starting to think that a gravatar is really important.

Is it?

I notice them. Do you? And if I see a friendly face, or a unique picture, I just might click on it and find an awesome blog that I would not have found, otherwise.

But that brings me to another question…. what is the best kind of gravatar?

Some people choose to use their pets as their image. Others use symbols. Flowers are popular. Cartoons are cute. Lots of people use their faces. (Or artistic pieces of their faces.)

What is best?

I must admit that the faces are awfully nice. I do feel a “connection” with those faces that I see everyday. They seem just a little more real than the symbols.

But I’m shy. So the thought of leaving my picture on blogs all over the internet makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. But yet I find those photo-gravatars pleasing. And a step more “real” than a symbol. And I’m real. I want my readers to know I’m real.

So I’m thinking of changing my gravatar. But to what? My adorable dog? A flower? A tech device? My (gasp) face? Or maybe I should just leave it alone. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice cup of cappuccino? πŸ™‚

How did you make the decision?

Or … does it matter at all?

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58 thoughts on “How Important is Your Blogging Gravatar?

  1. You could always do what I do, have a picture of yourself – but from the back! Makes it harder to indentify you, but still gives that ‘personal’ connection. I use the same gr/avatar for everything that requires a picture.

    • Very clever, you are! Your picture is the perfect combination of a ‘little bit vague’ but yet personal! Did you just happen to have that picture on hand or did you take it specifically to be your gravatar?

  2. My Gravatar had always been something else. But I had a bet with someone. If they were to upload a picture of them, I would upload a picture of me. They did and so did I. Even though this one is six years old and I look completely different now. I have always hidden behind mine, but not so much anymore

    • That’s one way to get a personal photo gravatar! I have no pressure to change, no real reason, so I’m just wondering. You were kind of ”forced’ into your change with your bet. πŸ™‚ Are you glad now that you have a photo representing you?

  3. Personally, I like your cup of cappuccino. It’s warm and inviting. But so are flowers, and puppies, and . . .well, you already know all that.
    When I first started going more public on the internet I felt like you – no personal pics! Ever. But I’ve changed my mind. Like you said, sometimes you are drawn to those real faces. But! There are few pictures of myself that I really like. So, I found a happy medium. I use a head shot of myself, but have used a program I found on line to ‘cartoonize’ it, so while it’s still me, it’s a little softer.

  4. I like to see people’s faces… that’s just me…! It gives me a more ‘personal’ feel about them…
    I also love all of the other gravatars, too; some are very creative.
    I like your new ‘cup o’coffee’ gravatar; it gives a ‘relaxed’ feel…
    Each to his own though; we must, in the end, be true to ourselves…. πŸ˜‰

  5. Personally, I like to see the faces of the people I connect with because it makes them more real to me. However, I understand how you feel too about privacy, so I would just go with your gut feeling and do what feels right for you.

    • I really thought that most commenters would come down on the side of “faces”, but it doesn’t seem to be. That actually surprises me. I thought most would think as you (and I) do, that the faces seem more real.

  6. This is funny. I always liked your Avatar because it is easily recognized but I never looked at it well. I thought it was a picture of a globe. πŸ™‚ Now I see the cappuccino.

    • thank you for that! When I wrote this post, I thought I would see lots more votes for faces, but to my surprise, that isn’t so. Looks like I’ll be staying with the cappuccino. πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t think it matters. I associate a gravatar to a certain blog/person, and that relationship is what I see. Often, I can’t even tell what the picture is — but when I see it, I know its theirs. They’re often too small to see clearly anyway.

    • You have a great point. One of my commenters thought my cappuccino was not a cup of coffee, but a globe. I think you boiled it down perfectly …… it’s the association that matters.

      • That’s funny! Until I read this post, I thought that your gravatar was a magnifying glass looking at a seashell! But I never thought you were unfriendly or distant because it wasn’t a face. Frankly, the more distinctive it is, the easier it is to recognize. And sometimes, the tiny faces on gravatars look kind of alike…. So I think that distinctive trumps face.

  8. I happened to have the picture on hand. The joys of having to wear your university robes for school functions (and parents insisting on taking photographs to send to relatives!).

  9. Daniela says:

    Hi,
    This is such a good questions! And I remember those early days so well, and had much the same dilemma about the gravatar, I changed mine few times! On the end I decided to sort of stand behind my words and so here comes my photo. To me it was like to say; ‘yes this is mine and this is who I am’. In any case I always liked your cuppa, it gives feeling of warmth and friendliness. So what ever you decide to do, will be fine by me -:)!

    Take Care,
    Daniela

    • I really expected most people to think that a face was the way to go … I know I love seeing your face pop up on my blog, so I can think “there’s my friend, Daniela” and apply your face to your name. To my surprise, many commenters just feel that it is the association that is important. I still have such mixed feelings about this…. πŸ™‚

  10. Great post.. After reading it I’ve finally taken time to choose a gravatar for myself.. So thank you :D..
    Im too shy to upload my pic too, so I chose a cute lil blue monster.. : )

  11. I prefer the personal photo route but understand why some are reluctant to go that way.
    If the image chosen has relevance to the blog’s content, I think that also makes a lot of sense.
    The only gravatars that turn me off are the ones depicting pets….fine if your blog is pet-centric but really lame (imo) if you substitute a pet’s photo for one of yourself! I love my cats but they aren’t me!!!!

    • I think it is so nice how your picture is just right there. That makes such sense to me, but I’m happy to learn through these comments that most people are happy with the association of gravatar to blog as well. I thought everyone would shout “faces!” and I’m kind of surprised it didn’t go that way. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I do think I’m more comfortable with that, so I’m happy to learn that most people don’t think it matters at all. “Whatever resonates with you” <<< great advice! πŸ™‚

  12. Are you trying to tell me that it is not a cappuccino that writes this blog? I can’t believe I fell for that trick. I only put a tiny little piece of me on there so as not to scare potential readers away.

    • You are so funny!! Notice in my blog post I mentioned people who use “artistic pieces of their faces” ? That was a specific reference, to you. πŸ™‚
      Yours truly,
      Cappuccino

  13. I think a gravatar should be something memorable. Your cappuccino is that and that is why I went with the beagle. I find with the faces that I have trouble remembering them until they’ve been at my blog for a while, but the more distinctive gravatar’s stay with me more quickly. For example, Jacquie’s above is very distinctive, but LuAnn’s not as much as it’s hard to see any detail.

    Nancy

    • Memorable is another really important quality. There are some that I’ve seen that really catch your eye. Great point!!!! Thanks for the advice. I’m staying with the cappuccino. πŸ™‚

  14. I too like your cappuccino avatar and I think you do a great job connecting it with the theme of your blog. I chose the aloe plant I use because it’s something representative of where I live and to me, it ties in with my blog.

    I am a little iffy about using a photo of myself for a gravatar. I have a photo of myself on my “About” page…I figure if people take time to check out my blog, I at least have a photo there so people know I’m an actual person.

    I think you have to feel comfortable with your gravatar. If a picture of your face doesn’t feel comfortable to you, then it isn’t the right picture for your gravatar.

  15. elizabeth says:

    I used a photo that is over ten years old. I don’t look like that anymore, but it is how I like folk to picture me. (The photo was taken on a very happy day, my son’s graduation. πŸ™‚
    )

  16. I chose an image of myself that I hope shows the spirit of my retirement – my basic blog theme. I’m wearing sunglasses and expect those who don’t know me could never pick me out of a crowd from this photo, ‘though it does look like me. On LinkedIn and Facebook, where I also use my own name, I have a really recognizable photo – but only viewable to those I’ve “friended” or connected to. I really like the idea of a photo – as long as it fits the theme of the blog and you’re comfortable with it! πŸ˜‰

    • I’ve admired your gravatar for all the reasons you said. It does … very much … represent the spirit of retirement. You’re clearly on the go and having fun!! If I could be as clever as you, I’d do a photo, too. πŸ™‚ For now, my photo will continue to hide out on my ‘about’ page.

  17. I have always liked your gravatar and I immediately know a comment is from you when I see it.

    I never noticed it was a cup of coffee, though πŸ™‚ I just got a general impression of a black-brown-white picture.

    Never knew that about the word ‘gravatar.’ I love facts like that.

    • I thought that was interesting about the word “gravatar”, too! Love to learn things like that.
      I’ll be sticking with my coffee cup for now. But I do enjoy seeing “you” as you leave a comment. I enjoy seeing the faces. Feels friendlier to me. πŸ™‚

  18. I am just getting back to answering this. You sure get enough responses. I am lucky if I get 3 or 4 a day. And If I get 10 views I am in ecstasy. Honestly it makes me depressed that I can’t attract more readers. I leave at least 25 likes a day and at least 15 or more comments. Maybe if I put my picture on my avatar it would help. lol Doubt that.

    I do think it is nice to see who is who although once a gravatar is connected with a blogger it might be hard to change. I have put my picture in 3 of my entries. Tiny ones….lol Maybe you could do that. Or have you?

    • Yes, this post did get a lot of responses. Others don’t, but this got a lot of attention, I guess because everyone can relate to it. Attracting readers is slow. I notice many other blogs who started about the same time I did who have many many many more followers than me. I don’t know any magic for that. For your blog you can count on me, though. I’ll be visiting your blog with every post!
      I won’t be changing my gravatar (I love yours by the way!). I just made mine so quickly and with no thought, but I think I’m kind of committed to it, now. Yes, my picture is on my blog under “about me”. So if someone cares to look, it is there. πŸ™‚

  19. Well, I see I visited your “about me” and commented in the middle of August. I don’t know how I missed your picture. It is darling. You are as cute as your blog!! I’d sure use my picture if I looked like that. lol

    Maybe I will find an old old old picture and put it in my about.
    I do really enjoy the folks that follow along. Fun to chat back and forth.

  20. creativedoll says:

    I figured that a funny picture of me wouldn’t be so ‘dangerous’ to use as a gravatar, and it shows my personality very well, so that’s why I chose mine. And who knows – maybe it’ll make someone smile πŸ™‚

    I’m a coffee lover, so I like yours very much!

    • I was never really worried about the danger … my reluctance was merely being kind of shy. I’ll be sticking with my coffee cup. I put a photo in the About Me area, so if someone really wants it, there it is. πŸ™‚ I love yours! Now if I had thought to be so clever, I would have done that!

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