The Avatar-Gravatar Mystery: SOLVED

Posted on: April 27th, 2012 by Edward No Comments

Why is it that some issues you try to get information or resolutions for, you just can’t seem to get a straight answer…you go to one site and the content is written for geeks…you go to another site and they parse out information like it’s understood that you “should be able to fill-in-the-blanks.” My quest for the Avatar – Gravatar was no different. ENOUGH ALREADY!

So, I decided to give you the skinny…at least the web-based skinny—meaning, not 3D Avatars for games and such.

Let’s start with the obvious…what is an Avatar? What is a Gravatar? What’s the difference between the two…well, actually the definitions of the two kind of answer the “what’s the difference” question.

An Avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character.

A Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar—you’ll understand what that means in a minute.

So, at the root, an Avatar is an image, and a Gravatar is that “same” image recognized globally.

So, how do you create an Avatar? Well, to make a long story short, any image that’s a perfect square (or cropped to a perfect square) can be used as an Avatar—and lets be sensible, the more simplistic the image, the better it will look at a very small size…I’m really intrigued with what’s above our heads and beyond, but if I used a picture of the galaxy for my Avatar, it could be very hard to make out if it was displayed at 20 x 20 px (pixels)…so be conscientious about the image you choose to use.

…the most common Avatar sizes are 256px x 256px, 120px x 120px, 100px x 100px, 80px x 80px and 40px x 40px (some services may accept or require other sizes—what else is new).

You can take an image and save a version of every size or just make one at 256px x 256px and resize it online when you create your Avatar. And there are a number of sites that offer the Avatar service. But why just create an Avatar? Go for the SUPER-MEGA-DELUXE-GINORMOUS package and register a Gravatar…

And how do you register a Gravatar? If you have an image that you’d like to use to represent you and you have (or can create) a 256px x 256px version of it…just go to

Basically, what you’ll essentially be doing…is “associating an image with an email address.” And you can associate the same image with multiple email address.

So why do this? Absolutely NO reason at all…but if you’re socially active and you wonder how other people have their photo in places where you only have this gray box with a white silhouette in it representing you…and it bothers you or YOU JUST WANT ONE…then take your image to and register your own Gravatar!

…and every site or service in which you have an account (or newly register for) that uses any of your Gravatar associated email addresses will display your Avatar if this feature is enabled…and this includes  smart phone apps as well…

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