Gravatars – Globally Recognized Avatars – may be the coolest thing since MU*s. Yes, I’m showing my age. I was a text-only geek. It’s how I learned to roleplay. It’s how I learned to program/code. It’s how I had my first social-networking interaction via the internet. This was back in the day when people were trying to get all sorts of “universal” ideas going. Every web site (that I was interested in) seemed to be a new kind of trinket you could add to your internet satchel. I thought all of that was gone with the dot.com bloom and bust, and the web 2.0 age of slick social services.
But thanks to WordPress, I find out (belatedly, of course) about Gravatar. You upload your avatar – a small photo or icon – to a central place, and the icon will auto-magically appear next to your name the next time you comment on someone’s blog. Of course, it only works with those blog sites that are using compatible blogging tools or plugins (WordPress now supports it natively).
But what a great idea! And they’ve implemented it in true web 2.0 style – not AJAX for AJAX’s sake but a clean and simple interface that lets you do exactly what you need and then gets out of the way. Bravo!