Behind the Gravatar: Or Reasons I Love Waking Up to Your Face

“You really need to get one.”

Get what?

“A Gravatar.”

What’s a Gravatar?

“You know, the Globally Recognized AVATAR. G + R + Avatar = Gravatar. Get it? It’s globally recognized because millions of people use it on the internet. And if you intend on leaving a comment on WordPress, or or even voting for the next American Idol, you need one. Pronto.”

This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a WP community member when my blog was in its infancy. At the time, I didn’t realize the importance of what this person was saying. Or the importance of a Gravatar.

Whenever I heard the word Gravatar, I couldn’t help but think of James Cameron’s science fiction film Avatar. I had no idea that Gravatars represented first impressions, brand recognition, etc.

After accepting the legitimacy of Gravatars, I began hunting for an image. The selection process involved little thought or consideration. I selected a picture on a whim, one that was entered in a Christmas card contest.

I cropped out the bottle of wine. Chose a cool filter. And, voila! Just like that I was done.

keepingitrealmomgravatar

This Gravatar was the face of my blog for nearly two years.

Until I gave birth to my third child. That’s when the antsiness set in. Antsy in every way. Antsy in my body. Antsy in my blog. I had an overwhelming desire for change. So, I switched things up around here.

Guess you could say I went through a re-birth.

While I was mauling over which photo to upload, I began noticing other Gravatars. I mean really noticing the effort bloggers put into their images. The color combinations. The expression in the eyes. The half smiles. Whole Smiles. The illustrations. The majestic animals.

I-M-P-R-E-S-S-I-V-E. I live for the details!!

I tried admiring these photos from afar. In secret. I didn’t want to come across as overzealous. Until one day, I burst. The floodgates opened and praise started pouring out of me. I gave credit where credit was owed. And this is how I came to meet this lovely woman:

It was Gravatar at first sight.

naptimethoughts

See this cat? This face? Makes you wonder who’s behind this gravatar, right? Well, this image certainly peeked my interest. I’m glad I caved to my curiosity because it led me to a talented, laugh out loud, funny lady. She’s one of my favorite humor bloggers.

Thank you Naptimethoughts for graciously sharing your Gravatar with us today. You make me smile. In all honesty, I feel that way about every blogger that stops by. I appreciate the uniqueness in YOU. I appreciate the time you take to read what I write. I appreciate the thoughtful comments. I appreciate the friendships.

Mostly, I appreciate doing life together.

It’s your turn to take the floor. You already know I love waking up to your face. Now, I want to hear about the evolution of your Gravatar. The behind the scenes process you went through in selecting your current image. Here are a few questions to get you started:

1. Black and white. Or color?

2. First name. Or Blog name?

3. Anonymous. Or is anonymity overrated?

4. Caricature? Or you in the flesh?

5. How often do you change your Gravatar? Do you think it’s too risky to switch because fellow bloggers won’t recognize you?

Okay, I may have included an extra question in #5. Sorry, I can’t help it. I do things in odd numbers.

 

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51 thoughts on “Behind the Gravatar: Or Reasons I Love Waking Up to Your Face

  1. Great questions. My first gravatar was just a picture of me. Then I changed it about a dozen times. Finally, a fellow blogger suggested I pick one, make it my own, make it stand out, and stick with it. I wanted to show people my two fave things in life: plaid and drinking coffee, so the plaid mug worked perfectly. I won’t ever change it because people associate it with my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t imagine seeing you any other way, Darla! The WP community definitely associates you with plaid, coffee, and a whole lotta funny.
      I can’t help but think of your old blog header, too. What an amazing shot from your home!

      Like

  2. I didn’t know what the hell a gravatar was but made one anyway because wp told me I should. Now I am reconsidering that perhaps I should be more creative!

    My first & only to date: Colour, first name, just me looking friendly. Or at least, I think I look friendly. I’m smiling. My friendly smile!

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    1. I don’t think you need to reconsider anything, Lynn. Your Gravatar oozes with warmth! Your eyes are smiling. Whoever snapped that shot of you, had excellent timing.

      Like

  3. As for the blog I wanted anonymity as I write about personal things, and personal failures, so I didn’t want people I know finding it. I think that has worked. Even though there is a smattering of pictures of me up there… the last one in the main picture.

    I had decided that if I had a company it would be called Frivolous Monsters, because I liked the sound of it, so for the Gravatar (I never knew what that stood for until today, thanks) I wanted something that fitted the title. A rubbish monster.

    I eventually came upon the story of George the robot who was made by a genius British boffin in 1949 from the metal of a crashed Wellington bomber. George is still around and working today.

    I gave the full story of George at the bottom of my post – The Robot Nelson Mandela – although I mostly got hits from crazed South Africans because apparently (?) there was a conspiracy theory that they’d swapped Nelson Madela for a robot. My title was a joke so that was news to me.

    http://frivolousmonsters.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-robot-nelson-mandela/

    I do wish I could change my Gravatar, make it fresher, but I don’t know what. A “rubbish” Doctor Who monster would be too easy. So I probably won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi FM, sorry for the delayed response. It’s been a crazy week around here–Halloween, soccer games or (football) in your part of the world, and my li’l avacaodo’s 1st Birthday party.
      In any case, I think your Gravatar and its corresponding name are well suited. Especially since you’ve given life to George the robot. I’m guessing he’s going to take you places.

      Like

  4. Great topic. My Gravatar evolved over time, too. It started with a selfie of me in a hat and eventually evolved into something reflecting my blog’s theme. I know we’re encouraged to stick with the same one for all our social media sites, but I don’t since the Gravatar for my blog wouldn’t necessarily match my Twitter or FB account. Maybe someday I’ll have something that matches up everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie, I think it’s wise to have your Gravatar reflect your blog’s theme. It makes perfect sense. Helps to create a seamless home page.
      As for your Twitter pic, I think it’s SO playful and cute. Who’s that guy you’re blowing a smooch to?

      Like

      1. Hahaha! That’s what I thought. My initial reaction was, “Geez, her husband sure does look like Johnny Depp.” My vision is clearly deteriorating.

        Like

    1. I was technically challenged for a long time, too. That all changed when I had to figure out WP widgets. Those things drove me crazy!
      Kim, I love the image you selected. Your smile totally reflects your “Inner Chick”–Strong, but approachable.
      Also, your Gravatar’s ‘profile’ cracks me up. SUPER CLEVER: akismet-069f82b6d320654603807 . . .

      Like

    1. Your child sure knows how to snap a photo! At first glance, I thought it was a pile of leaves on the ground. Then, I took a closer look and it appears as crayon shavings. I may need to get my eyes checked!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My Gravatar is a beautiful photo of a soaring hawk – my legal middle name is “Rising Hawk,” given to me by a Chiricahua Apache elder. I guess I like the anonymity, but that image is more the real me than seeing my face would ever be. In that sense, it IS my picture! Up, up, and away! 🙂

    Like

    1. How interesting? I had no idea that “Rising Hawk” is your legal middle name. This brings new meaning to the IMAGE. Up, up, and away is so fitting. Soar on!

      Like

  6. Good questions, Anka. The one I currently use comes from a FB post. The first one I used, I was on a beach in sunglasses. That was me for the first year. I decided to branch and be more me. Now, I haven’t a different image on my blog than my Gravatar. I don’t know if I’ll change it over. I also have it on Twitter, so for now I’m keeping it. I’m sure some day, I’ll get sick of it and change it. I use my full name, although I didn’t always. I find it amazing how attached I am to other people’s Gravatars. I’m so familiar with them, I don’t want them to switch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Amy, this brings back memories. I remember your OLD Gravatar–it was so hip looking, so mysterious. I remember thinking I gotta get to know who’s behind those sunglasses.
      But, I gotta say, there’s something endearing about seeing your eyes. They’re filled with kindness. Plus, purple is one of my favorite colors, and I do believe that’s the color of your shirt.
      As for growing attached to other people’s Gravatars, I feel the same way. That’s why I’m considering switching back to my old one. Not sure what to do. Thoughts??

      Like

      1. Oh, Anka! I’m sorry to leave you hanging. I was thinking about this. I’m going through a thing right now with my blog. I’ll have a day when all of a sudden I don’t like it! Oh, brother! And, then I think, probably no one cares but me.
        As for your Gravatar, I like either one! Both look great and represent you well. I’m sticking to my old one, because I feel I’m familiar this way. I think this new one is good for you. I like it. It has attitude and spunk!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ba haha…my Gravitar is actually a picture of my face from a Halloween picture in 2011 that my daughter is cropped out of! My thoughts on the Gravitar – good lord, find a decent, clean looking photo that doesn’t shout out I am a mom with messy hair 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna, I would’ve never guessed this was a Halloween snapshot. Then again, my former Gravatar doesn’t exactly scream “Christmas.” As for the messy hair, I don’t think I’ll ever conquer it. I wake up with some serious bed hair!!

      Like

  8. Hello Anka 😀 As a newbie follower of your posts I feel it’s right to make my first ever comment here. I love your posts so that’s why I’m following !
    Gravatar ! I have kept the same avatar from day one as I was told it gives other bloggers pleasure in seeing me like a post. So I won’t change it. One thing that does bug me is that many bloggers do not link their blog to their Gravatar. To me, it’s a waste of time having a Gravatar as they lose traffic and it’s annoying for another blogger trying to view their blog !
    That’s enough grit and gripe from me. Great post. I hope we become friends. Ralph ❤

    Like

    1. Hi Ralph! Sorry for the delayed response. It’s been a busy week here–Halloween, soccer games, and baby’s 1st Birthday.
      In any case, I find it frustrating that bloggers don’t link their Gravatars to blogs, too. It’s a little effort that goes a long way. As for keeping the same Gravatar, that seems to be the general consensus. Most bloggers don’t like change.
      Then, there are people like me, who enjoy experimenting with theme layouts, colors, etc.
      Take care and enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You know, I never really gave much thought to my gravatar. I chose it because I needed one, the night I set up my blog, and the picture made me laugh. It’s really only now that I realize how it really does represent Naptimethoughts very well. Thanks for the shout out, Anka, and for making me think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure! Your Gravatar deserved a post of its own. I mean, really, look at that cat’s expression. Who wouldn’t laugh? Or, at least, want to know who’s behind this mischievous looking thing.
      Also, stay away from the popcorn this Halloween. Pinky promise? Hope you’re feeling better today!

      Like

      1. No more popcorn. Out of a Herrs bag.
        Crappy tooth breaking popcorn.
        I do love my kitty. She looks like the kind of kitty that would flip you the bird if she had a middle finger, and that’s cool with me. She’s funny by accident, kind of like me. Born that way.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The middle finger–my thoughts exactly! That’s kind of why I fell in love with kitty because she could care LESS about what others thinks!
        If it makes you feel any better, my front tooth came out while biting into laffy taffy. There was nothing funny about it. I was 12 years old.

        Like

    1. Gravatars with illustrations blow me away. Especially one that features telling details. A kid on mom’s shoulder while she’s writing–you certainly captured mom’s multitasking abilities.
      I can’t even draw stick figures!

      Like

  10. 1. Color 🙂
    2. Blogger alias, though I accidentally outed my actual name earlier this year. I don’t care what others call me, I just officially keep it under this.
    3. Oh, see answer 2 LOL
    4. NOT me. I used to be me, but I am in a “no pictures of me, ever!” phase (long story)
    5. I was the same for a year, changed up for a while, now back to this pretty much. I will change up twitter more often than mess with here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 2. Do you care when bloggers call you by your first name in the WP community? Cause I love addressing people by their first names, only if it sits right with you.
      4. Would love to hear/read story sometime.
      5. I get fickle, too. Even now, I wonder if should go back to the same old stinkin’ Christmas Card Gravatar. I’m not sure if bloggers recognize me in this one??

      As for Deadpool in a pink suit, I gotta be honest, I wasn’t familiar with this Marvel Comic character. So, I hit up google. Now, that I know Deadpool is an unorthodox guy with healing powers, I have a NEW appreciation for your Gravatar!!

      Like

      1. 2. I don’t mind anymore. My job knows about my blog, another fun story, so as long as my family doesn’t find me then I am Ok with whatever.

        4. It isn’t too fun, has to do with my self-esteem and trollish emails/comments.

        5. I made a joke about changing mine again and was told I needed to stay “recognizable”. Um, don’t tell anyone, but I am not Deadpool. Plus, I like my actual picture of him in a pig costume (current one is off tumblr). Maybe I will change for Halloween tomorrow and see if anyone says anything 🙂

        He’s crazy, good and bad. Not to blog-whore or anything, but I did a “D is for Deadpool” post back in April for A to Z month. Like Hello Kitty, Lego, Domo and Nintendo, it’s just another silly thing that I like 🙂

        Like

      2. You should do it!!!!! I bet people will get thrown off. It would be fun to photo shop in some pumpkins.

        As for your story, I’m sorry to hear that you experienced hurtful emails/comments. People can be cruel. It’s their loss.

        And yes, whatever direction my blogs goes, I NEVER EVER want my family to discover it. My husband thinks I spend too much time blogging. He’s like, “You don’t even get paid to do this.” And I’m like, “But, but, but . . . you don’t understand. It’s just so fulfilling.”

        Like

  11. I want a new one because with the lighting, what in wearig and other elements it’s hard to see what it is. It’s a pic of me and I chose it because it was convenient. and I didn’t look like a greasy pig or sex crime offender (like 98% of my other pictures)

    Like

    1. Ha! You definitely don’t like either of those people. Changing your Gravatar is tricky, especially for someone who’s been blogging a long time. Most of us are creatures of habit.
      Change can throw readers off. I’m certain this has happened to me.
      As for the lighting, you can edit this image on photo websites such as picmonkey.com. Upload your photo and select the EXPOSURE tab to brighten up the details. Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love my gravatar. The drawing is of me, by my daughter when her art first began to explode. Honestly, I don’t remember what I had before, and I can’t imagine changing this one. The gravatars do make a statement, the one you use now gives me a different impression than your previous one did, lets me know you’re at a different stage. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your daughter’s artwork is stunning!! No reason to ever change this Gravatar. As for me, I’m on the fickle side. Not exactly sure what stage I’m in. I know one thing remains a constant–my desire for uninterrupted SLEEP!!

      Like

  13. I loved this! I have a pet peeve about having to work to get to someone’s link. I mean if they have gone to the effort of creating a blog and posting regularly, I think that aside from getting to choose a “cute Picture…. another reason to have gravatars is… easy access to your site. I mean, would you go to the trouble of opening up a store, only to have the main entrance down an alley, around a corner? Everyone who doesn’t have an address linked to their gravatar needs to read my blogger friend’s post about the subject below! Thank you for posting this. I think everyone needs to pass these kind of posts on. I am tired of cutting and pasting intriguing looking gravatars and adding wordpress.com to their mugs! 😉
    http://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/gravitar-links/

    Like

    1. Diane, you’re the second person who’s mentioned the “no link” thing. I completely agree. What’s the point of having a Gravatar if you can’t find the person’s blog address??
      On a side note, I remember your old Gravatar–the black and white headshot. Your facial expression was so dreamy, so inviting.
      Have great weekend my friend!! Grace and patience to you as continue working on your book.

      Like

  14. Hi Anka,
    First of all…I’m so sorry to have been gone so long! I just realized this week that I wasn’t subscribed to you via e-mail. I miss too much if I rely on the reader. Anyhoo…I found you and here I am!
    What an interesting post and comments from your readers. Here are my answers:
    1. Black and white. Or color? Color. This was the first picture I picked when I set my blog up or a year ago. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to change it.
    2. First name. Or Blog name? My gravatar bears the blog name…I should probably change that because I’m anything but private.
    3. Anonymous. Or is anonymity overrated? See #2
    4. Caricature? Or you in the flesh? I should do a caricature!!! Perhaps the lines would disappear 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my site today. We were meant to come back together this week!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad we crossed paths again, Michelle! I’ve been missing in action, too. I’m supposed to be on a blogging hiatus. It’s hard keeping up with all the readers I love and my three little ones. It’s like–blog or feed kids??
      But I discovered Twitter so that’s not saying much. Still addicted to wasting time!!

      Like

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