Gravatar, Identicon, Wavatar

A few years ago I added Gravatar icons to my blog, those cool little pictures (or avatars) that are associated with your email address. Whenever you comment on a Gravatar-enabled blog, your little thumbnail picture will display. These are BIG in the “blogging world.” In fact, when I went to WordCamp LA earlier this month, they printed my head shot on my badge. It took me a second or two to realize …. ah! It’s my Gravatar!

Now, as cool as Gravatars may be in the blogging world, my audience of Surfnetkids readers (I love you all!!) don’t generally have Gravatars. So today, when I was cruising through the options on this WordPress blog, I noticed I could use a different default image. Up to now, I had been using this Mystery Man  avatar as the default. But today I noticed a few other default options that generate nearly-unique thumbnail avatars for commenters that do not have their own Gravatar yet.

For those bloggers out there that want to see what I mean, here’s a snapshot from Settings/Discussion.

Default Avatar options in WordPress Settings/Discussion

I chose the Identicon option, because the others were so cutesy they reminded me of MySpace! You can see them in action in the comments below. (Hopefully there are comments below! If not, join in to see YOUR personal Identicon.)

So what is an Identicon and how is it generated? Quoting from their website:

So what is an Identicon? It’s a randomly generated assortment of shapes that is specific to a commenter’s email (or if you prefer IP address). Identicons allow visual representations of commenters without requiring any external sites or user interactions. With 40 possible shapes (about 70 with inversions) in 3 possible positions, around 8000 distinguishable colors and four different rotations for each part, there should be several billion possible shape combinations which, even with the increasing chance of overlap with each additional user, should be quite enough for almost any blog.