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Backstage at the Blog: G is for Gravatar

April 8, 2014

G Scottsdale Text RedGravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, which, like a well-trained puppy or a wizard’s familiar sitting on your shoulder, will follow you everywhere. Now you can upload a picture of yourself, or anything you like, and you’ll be instantly recognizable anywhere your adventures on Gravatar enabled sites may take you.

What kind of image you decide to display on your Internet calling card is always a topic for much debate. Platform savvy writers will tell you that putting your smiling mug in that intimidating square is always the best strategy.

However, that would assume I have a picture of myself that I actually like! I don’t –not yet. I’m thinking something in black and white, with that mysterious writerly gleam in my eyes would be perfect.  For now though, I’m sticking with the feather and the keyboard. I think it best represents where I’m at right now: Gone writing. Be back when I can!Image courtesy of Patryk Specjal @ stock.xchng

How did you decide what to put on your gravatar? If you could have any image you wanted to represent you, what would it be?

(Here’s your link back to the A to Z Challenge Sign Up list.)

Feather/keyboard image courtesy of Patryk Specjal @ stock.xchng


  1. April 8, 2014 6:07 am

    I’ve been very lucky in this regard. For a magazine interview for work, I got to have a professional photographer take a half-dozen shots of me- and expense it! So while the subject matter is so-so at best, the background, focus, composition, etc. are all as good as I could have hoped. I also have a clip art drawing of a cloaked, broad-brimmed Puritan with weapon out that reminds me a bit of Solemn Judgment, main character of the first novel I wrote (which I’m finally going to publish this summer). I use him at times too.

    • April 8, 2014 6:36 am

      I like the idea of having a gallery of possibilities for one’s gravatar. It keeps things interesting, as well as providing the option of featuring one’s work. Great idea, Will!
      And a professional photo would be awesome. 🙂

  2. April 8, 2014 8:23 am

    So … when people ask me what I do, I can say “I’m a GLOBALLY recognized avatar” if not able to truthfully claim “I’m a GLOBALLY recognized writer.” :-)_

    I like both – photos are good if you don’t have a personal photo anywhere else in your bio, but I also like the “mystery” of gravatars like yours, where we have to use our imagination to know who is behind the image.

    • April 8, 2014 8:10 pm

      Gravatars are fun, I think. Whatever someone chooses to put up to pique my curiosity is cool, but, being playful, I like having a bit of mystery next to my words. 🙂

  3. April 8, 2014 9:06 am

    On some sites (including this one), I’m a pink Spirograph-style quilt piece. On others (like Holly’s), I’m a line drawing of a dorky-looking little monster. I don’t make these choices myself. Haven’t yet bothered to try to figure out how to upload an actual picture of myself. Maybe today’s the day. 🙂

    • April 8, 2014 9:34 pm

      Yes, give it a try! Even if you don’t like what you end up with you can always go back to your pink quilt. I can’t wait to see what you choose.

      I was a purple quilt before I uploaded my avatar. 🙂

  4. April 8, 2014 9:16 am

    I know the feeling, Kirsten. I took hundreds of selfies (too embarrassed to ask someone to take them) before I could find one even half decent. I’ve never been photogenic, so this doesn’t help.
    Gravatar – what a word! To be globally recognized would be unbelievable!

    • April 9, 2014 7:20 pm

      I thought gravatar was a pretty cool word too, which is why I used it for my G letter, of course. 🙂
      I’ve tried a selfie or two myself though. I found that it’s harder than it looks to get it right!

  5. April 8, 2014 10:18 am

    I used to use the picture that’s on my various author profiles as my Gravatar. It always looked weird. Plus, I noticed that I felt like an actor when I had my face on every comment. I didn’t feel I could be myself, ironically enough. So, I changed it to my current (mostly) black and white image of a moon over a bay (or is it a lake?).

    • April 9, 2014 7:22 pm

      Your image is really cool, Amy.
      I like the symbolic avatars because they tell me a bit about the writer or their work. I can always go check out their bio if I’m curious enough to know what they look like. 🙂

  6. April 8, 2014 11:40 am

    I’ve tried to keep the same profile pic just to link all my accounts, but this sounds even easier!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

    • April 9, 2014 7:23 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Gravatar is super easy, and fun. You can even upload a couple different pictures and switch them out sometimes.

  7. April 8, 2014 12:24 pm

    I created my Gravatar over seven years ago now, on my old blog. Back then it represented me at the time–always in a coffee shop, with a mug in hand. I half fantasize about being back in my old coffee shop and half am just too lazy to redo it.

    • April 9, 2014 7:25 pm

      Hi Rory,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      I didn’t know Gravatar has been around for seven years already! And coffee? Don’t even get me started! Where would I be without coffee?!
      Hmm … that gives me an idea for an avatar. 🙂

  8. April 8, 2014 12:53 pm

    I do the same as Sarah. I try to use the same picture everywhere I go. So, although I’m not on WordPress, I have a Gravatar for it and use my Blogger profile picture.

    • April 9, 2014 7:27 pm

      Hi Elsie,
      I use the same picture for my Blogger profile as well. It’s pretty easy to upload the same one everywhere.
      I just need to find one that I like more!

  9. April 8, 2014 1:47 pm

    That’s one of the reasons I don’t use a picture of myself. Besides, I don’t want everyone in the world to know what I look like. I’d like to keep my private life private.

    • April 9, 2014 7:32 pm

      You are very private, Alex, and I think that’s cool.
      I think there are certain parts of one’s life that are okay to keep out of the public eye and everyone has to decide for themselves how much they are comfortable sharing with the world.

  10. April 8, 2014 1:58 pm

    Gavators – oh boy – they are not easy to fix. I had a blog then I wanted another – this one for my author page. I looked on all the help pages, spent HOURS searching for a fix. Both blogs were not working properly. Finally I got through by email to wordpress – and – they fixed it!! so now all is well (except for my current computer problem but that’s another story)

    • April 9, 2014 7:34 pm

      Wow, I’m surprised you had so much trouble with that, Susan. I’m glad to hear WordPress came through in the end.
      I think it was worth it! Your avatar is quite pretty. 🙂

  11. April 8, 2014 2:35 pm

    I’ve never been happy with any of my pics either, or if I am, I get sick of them in like a week. I’m hoping one of these days I’ll get pro photos done and they’ll be amazing. Hopefully. 😉
    (BTW, I had the hardest time finding my blog on that list too… it took me forever!)

    • April 9, 2014 7:36 pm

      I know, Melanie. I have this fantasy that my picture would be really cool if I pro could do it–but then, in the end it will still look like me, I suppose. I don’t know why I have issues with that!

  12. lonitownsend permalink
    April 8, 2014 4:45 pm

    Gravatar helps me pair images to people and jogs my memory that much more. I even wrote a blog post about it once. I lucked out with my picture. A photographer friend was having a studio moving sale and a 15 minute session only cost $5. It became my new author/profile photo for all of my writerly accounts.

    • April 9, 2014 7:39 pm

      And that’s a really nice picture you have there, Loni!
      I definitely agree that I get used to associating certain avatars with certain people, no matter what image they choose to represent their online persona. They’re a fun way to get a first impression of someone.

  13. April 8, 2014 6:28 pm

    I never used to like posting real pictures of myself online, so I used to use little drawings. They served their purpose for a long time, but after a while, when I started really concentrating on my writing and my blog, it started to feel like I was hiding myself from the world while at the same time asking the world to notice me. So finally I scoured through all the pictures I had of myself until I found one that I thought was suitable…a wedding photo in which I looked the best I have ever looked. I kept that photo for quite a while, but more recently it occurred to me that, while I’m not exactly OLD, that wedding photo represented a different me, a younger me with fewer cares. I wanted something that showed the real me, the me that exists right now, who has changed a great deal and is full of responsibilities…and so we now have a smiling picture of myself with only half my make-up on, my hair falling out of the ponytail in a few spots, and my daughter’s receiving blanket hanging off my shoulder. lol

    • April 9, 2014 7:43 pm

      I liked your picture from the moment I saw it! You look so friendly. 🙂
      Personally, I’m still ambivalent about the whole world starting to notice me, so maybe that’s why I’m still hiding (even though I have a real picture on my about page.) You’ve given me something to think about though!

      • April 10, 2014 5:50 pm

        It’s a weird thing for a lot of people, I think, actually putting YOURSELF out there. It’s so easy to be anonymous on the internet, and that’s the whole appeal for lots of people. It took me a while to realize that if I was really serious about being an author, that I should at least be willing to stand up and say, “Hi everyone! I’m the author!”
        I won’t say it wasn’t a little bit scary though. lol ^_~

  14. April 21, 2014 10:45 pm

    My Gravatar is the armchair of my handle! I wanted something eye-catching and comfy looking. I wouldn’t change it unless it could perhaps be the same chair shot from the back, with me just visible reading a book all splayed out with my legs over the arm.

    • April 22, 2014 6:51 pm

      I’ve always loved your gravatar. 🙂 Although it would be cool to shoot it from different angles as well, so I’d know it’s still you!

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