When you use Facebook, Twitter or most other social networking site, you’re given the opportunity to upload an Avatar (personal image) to associate with your profile. Whenever you post something to the site, your avatar is displayed next to your contribution. You can use any image, so if you’d rather not use a picture of yourself, you don’t have to. In fact, it’s very common not to use an image of yourself.
The university blogs support the use of Avatars. You can upload your own avatar by editing your profile page, under ‘My Account’. You can also set up how your blog displays avatars by going to the Settings menu, click on Discussion and at the bottom of the page, select Show Avatar and then select your Default Avatar. You’ll notice that you have a choice of using Gravatars, Wavatars, Identicons or MonsterIDs.
Gravatars are Globally Recognised Avatars. It’s a service which allows you to upload an image and any site you use that supports Gravatars, can use that image. This saves you from having to manage your avatar separately on each site. If you don’t want to use a Gravatar, you can select the Wavatar, Identicon or MonsterID options. These are cool ways to convert an email or Internet address into a unique image.
See the comments on this page for an example of a Gravatar and a MonsterID. Using avatars is a simple way of building a sense of community around your blog, bringing discussions to life.