Nowadays we have multiple accounts (identities) on the web. Gravatar is a nice way to manage those identities as it takes away the hassle of uploading information (and profile pics) all the time. As at present (September ’14), if you hover over any of the photos of me on my website you will notice a short profile of me. I did not set it up. Well, not on this site. It is ‘served up’ automatically, and it will serve up automatically on many other sites as well (if I have set it up that way on Gravatar).[divider]
Step 1 – Go to the Gravatar Website
Go to the Gravatar website. The link will open in a different window so that you can follow what you are doing. Once on the page click on ‘Sign In’ (top right).
Step 2: Click on ‘Need an account’
This is a screenshot of what you will see. You now need to click on ‘Need an account? in order to create a free account.
Step 3: Fill in your detail
The email you use here will be your primary association although you will add other addresses also if you want. You can change the primary address later.
Step 4: Go to the ‘My Profile’ page
Fill out the detail you feel comfortable with. Pay particular attention to the ‘About me’ section. That section is is what you want to convey about yourself. Keep it general to cover many places you will take part in on the internet. Or, be specific if you want to brand around something in particular. In my case this was really difficult for me since I am involved in quite diverse fields. Take note of the options on the right. The following screen captures relate to those options one by one.
Step 5: Say cheese and let’s have your best smile
Well, technically you are not taking a photo. You upload photos that you already have in digital format. You can see that I have uploaded three so far.
Step 6: Add where you ‘hang out’
Here you can load all the places around the web where you have access to. These are websites where you have used one or other email address that Gravatar will use to associate a particular photo with. It means that if that website does not somehow block or subscribe to Gravatar you’re photo and profile will show up automatically on that site. This means you control your brand or image because the website simply allows the information that Gravatar serves up.
Step 7: Stand out with your own background
You can either upload an image (sun set, some kind of pattern, etc) or just choose a background color by clicking in the box. Alternatively if you want to use a different colour picker. Here is one for you that I use from time to time. Following that link, simply click on the colour and copy/paste the six digit number-alphabet combination after the ‘#’ hashtag sign in the Gravatar window.
Step 8: Add how people can actually make contact with you
This is up to you. If you want to allow someone to actually get in touch with you, do go ahead. Why? Well, perhaps you are taking part in a technical conversation and a big shot in the, let us say a management forum, likes what you are saying then they can easily make contact with you.
It does not have to be your email address. Or, if it is you can create an email address specifically for this type of web engagement. Google’s gmail (I think) allows aliases which is superb (like pseudo name for your real address). One of my companies does web development (ask me) and then you can set up as many aliases and professional email addresses as you wish.
Step 9: Be nice and say that it really is you
You never know these days. How can you be sure that this ‘person’ who you have never met is who s/he says s/he is. So if you want to, depending on your personal brand, verify yourself with a credible website – LinkedIn perhaps. I chose Twitter (You can follow me from various place that you will find my twitter handle (that is, @elmopienaar) on the site.
Step 10: For the love of money (?)
Ever heard that people say ‘for the love of money’? In this case let us change it to “I love you to bits” with one of the most popular web currencies being ‘bitcoins.’ Oh, you didn’t know those exist. Well, you can buy stuff or trade it for ‘real’ money. But think about it. Even in the bank your money is simply a number. Getting off topic now, stick me a coffee and send some bitcoins my way – we can discuss it. You would need a digital wallet though. Gravatar offers a short explanation on their site. Here is the website of bitcoin. The idea here is that Gravatar gives a nice handle locator for people who need your ‘account number’ without having to remember the extreeeeeemly long acount identifier. You know, just in case the people that you hang out with notice you have a wallet with you and want to show a ‘bit’ of ‘love.’
Step 11: Comment
Well, this has nothing to do with the setup of Gravatar but it would be nice to hear what you use or suggest for managing your identities around the web.