Why Don’t My Blog Comments Have My Picture/Avatar?

Jan 11, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Social Networking  //  9 Comments

image

If you comment on blogs, you might have noticed that your comment is missing a picture or avatar next to your comment, but other comments have them.  You might see a blank next to some and a “placeholder” picture next to others, as shown in the snippet from our blog. 

An avatar is a usually a cartoon/drawing/character that isn’t realistic but embodies who you are…or who you think you are.  It can also be a photograph that clearly shows your face or a portion of your face.  You often see these user images on forums, blogs and social networks.

I’d bet that if your avatar isn’t showing up on comments, you are wondering why your comments look so…anonymous…or plain.  The reason that Rob and my avatars are there is because we are commenting through our blogging accounts, but the reason that other commenters’ pictures are there is because they registered with a third party service called Gravatar.  Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. You can create an account there, upload a picture or avatar and provide your e-mail address.  Then when you leave comments on blogs that have special plugins or services to use Gravatar, your picture will show up next to your comments.  It works when you provide the same e-mail address on the blog comment that you did when you registered for Gravatar.  In other words, your e-mail address is the key used between the blog and the service to find your picture. 

The most common blogging and forum platforms will automatically show your Gravatar when you provide the right e-mail address (which usually is not shown).

But why would you want your picture to show up on someone’s blog comments?   I find that when people use a common picture or avatar across all the blogs, social networks, and web forums they build a better relationship with those communities.  I know I find comments more “real” when I recognize the commenter.  You could think of your avatar as part of your professional brand.

There may be situations where you don’t want your picture to show up in a comment.  In that case, you could consider giving a different e-mail address when you leave your comment.  It might also help if you associated your professional picture with your professional e-mail address and your personal one with your personal e-mail address.

Gravatar has also introduced expanded profiles and “hovercards” that can display even more information about you if you’d like to share more. That’s an opt-in expansion of the regular avatar feature.  It’s up to you as to how much information you want to share.

I do recommend that you go set up a Gravatar account.  I believe your having a global graphic identifier (okay, almost unique identifier) will help you build relationships via social networks and blogs.

A Globally Recognized Avatar

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

9 Comments

  • Thanks for guilt tripping me into finally signing up for Gravatar :)

  • I think it’s important as a self branding tool that the avatar come up, even in comments. I use this one photo across everything I do online – it’s my Twitter avatar, and I use it as a photo on my website, my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and even on my business cards. As a newish entity to the SQL Server community, I want to present a single, strong image of myself, and so whenever anyone sees that photo, it’s going to represent Matt Velic. (Unless, of course, someone else decides to use that image as well.)

    I think it’s even more important coming from an evolutionary viewpoint: humans are so dependent upon vision. You hear anecdotes of people describing themselves as “visual learners,” and we do tend to remember images better than words or ideas. My own anecdotal evidence came from this past Summit (2010), where folks came up to me and couldn’t quite remember my name, but recognized me from Twitter or from my video. That small bit of recognition allowed us to meet and start a conversation that wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t as recognizable.

    I’ve got to admit that I’m not looking forward to the day I get tired of that photo, because it’s going to be quite a bit of work to change the branding that I’ve built up around it. And God forbid I get tired of the mustache… :)

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karen Lopez. Karen Lopez said: Why Don’t My Blog Comments Have My Picture/Avatar? http://bit.ly/gpp158 [...]

  • Thanks for this awesome tip! I had thought about trying to come up with a solution for selecting my avatar over and over. This ends that search! Thanks for the information!

  • [...] do leave a comment.  Yes, you can include a link to your blog.  Yes, you can use your Gravatar to post.  I know that some bloggers don’t like comments/links/gravatars, but I think [...]

  • Thank you so much ! It was so easy to do too – I’ve been putting it off for ages which is silly really ;-)

  • Thanks, I’ve wondered for the longest why I my photo never shows. Duh…it’s taken me this long to finally research it. Thanks again.

  • I learned about Gravatars via the SQL Saturday page since they use them…good write-up on the topic!

    • I forget where I found out about them…but I wish more people knew about them. That SQLSaturday networking page would be so much more fun if it had more avatars on it.

      Maybe I’ll tweet again a link to this and mention that it’s good for SQLSaturday, too.

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