I installed a new WordPress theme several weeks ago. I noticed a couple of days ago that posts had funny looking “blank portrait” images beside them. I right clicked on them, and noticed that the images were linked to Gravatar. I remember reading about “Gravatars” (globally recognized avatars) quite some time ago, but I more or less dismissed it as not relevant to my interests. I think when I read about it, there may have even been charges associated with the service
Well, apparently it is relevant to my interests now. Automattic (the company responsible for WordPress) has acquired the service, and now you can set yourself up there for free. If go to the Gravatar site or alternately have an account on WordPress.com, you can associate an image with your email address… or apparently several images with several different email addresses. Anyway, once you’ve done that, if you use that same email address to identify yourself on a blog or website that supports Gravatars, your image will appear there without further setup.
All of this was news to me, but apparently Gravatar support is actually “baked in” to WordPress since version 2.5, and any “compliant” WordPress theme inherits this support. I didn’t notice it earlier probably because I was using a non-standard theme. None of this probably means much to most of my visitors but… I found it intriguing to discover something I had completely missed. Sort of like discovering an old friend of yours has been hand carving collectable duck decoys for years and you never had a clue they did any such thing. Exactly like that… except completely different.