What is an Avatar | Di Downie - The Ideas Diva.Shaping your ideas into reality

What is an Avatar?

Who am I?

Once in a while, or maybe during a self-wrenching moment, you might have asked this question to yourself. Oh, this is absolutely fine! Just like the basic need for a sense of control, the human mind is also driven by the urgent sense of identity. Who we are? What is the purpose of our life? Why this sense of individuality is important to us? And so on- identity comes with many questions and needs.

An Avatar - a picture says a thousands words
An Avatar – a picture says a thousands words

Avatar: The Virtual Aspect of Identity!

An avatar is an image/photo that follows you around the internet. As a new WordPress user, you might have seen a grey icon next to your name. This grey icon is known as ‘mystery man’ Gravatar, and before understanding what a Gravatar is, you first need to know the meaning of an avatar.

An avatar is a graphical (or animated representation) of a user that becomes his/her virtual identity over the world of web. It is completely the choice of the user to use an avatar, which could be a graphical icon, random image or even the person’s picture. A few years back, when the web experience was new and a bit private with priority to anonymity, people preferred using icons for identification purposes. You can still find the trend in the gaming communities or discussion boards. With an avatar, it is relatively easy to recognize a person. You might find it difficult to recall names, but it is quite easy to identify a person with the help of a specific image. An Avatar is amazing this way! It helps your recall value as it gives you a virtual identity that could be cute, self-explanatory, humorous, or probably, the best way to define your finest attitude.

This is a type of photo you could use for people to gain a feeling of who you are
This is a type of photo you could use for people to gain a feeling of who you are

Why is an Avatar important for your virtual identity?

Many reasons support the use of a avatar and the best one are:

  1. It becomes your virtual identity.

  2. If you are a blogger, it will help you to create a network.

  3. People will recognize you at multiple sites.

  4. You will make your profile look ‘accomplished’.

  5. No need to register afresh at different commenting sites.

Gravatar and Avatar: The Connection!

There is a valid connection between Gravatar and Avatar. A globally recognized avatar is known as Gravatar and as some major CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress have inbuilt support for such commenting tools. So if your website is supporting Gravatar, then it means your users can leave a comment on the site with just an email. The avatar becomes global this way, supporting one main identity of the user.

Why should every small business use Gravatar on their website?

Do you know what the best way to win your online audience is? First and foremost, to grab their attention! Now know how Gravatar can help your business this way:

  1. Wherever you will go, people will follow you.

  2. Your profile will grab eyeballs for your business.

  3. People will end up visiting your website.

  4. You might identify some loyal users.

  5. It breeds trust.

So now when you know what Gravatar and avatar is, let’s understand the process of adding Gravatar to your site. You know what??? The process is EASY, FREE, and so SIMPLE!!! You just have to follow these steps.

Step 1: Go to the official website of Gravatar.

Step 2: Choose an email ID that you use most often to comment.

Step 3: Add an avatar (most probably your own image)

Step 4: Choose your avatar wisely because it is something that you won’t change again and again.

Step 5: Integrate Gravatar with your website (though most WordPress websites come integrated with Gravatar).

You can go to my slideshow for a step by step demo

http://www.slideshare.net/didownie

Which Avatar should I use- Animated Representation or Personal Image?

The way you present yourself is the way you ‘BRAND’ your identity. I would use a cute little ‘Winnie the Po’ when I want the world to adore me, I would use a lion to make some assertive commands, and the best would be using my own image when I want the ‘human’ acceptance from the people around me. This is why your image is everything! It is everything because it presents you in the most impactful way. So know these reasons why you should use your personal image as avatar:

  • Just in 0.1 seconds, you can form an everlasting impression in the mind of a stranger. If researchers are to believe, then the facial expression can establish an instant connection with a stranger.

  • Your personal image has everything to do with your reputation. It has an association with positivity- the way how people interpret you online.

  • As human beings, we have the tendency of judging fellow human beings. We live in a generation where we are born with a skeptical taste. We just don’t trust a stranger easily. So what if you see a stranger in an absolute vague avatar? Will you be able to believe him? No, you won’t. And what if there is a natural/original picture used in the avatar. There will be this believability that you are communicating with a human being and not a computer bot.

  • You have to understand human values here. We, human beings, are driven by the love to feel, touch, hear, listen and see. We have a face, and we associate with an identity. In a world were billion of people live, everyone has some or the other form of specialty. Your face makes you special and it is how people interpret your uniqueness.

  • The Internet has a ‘stay-forever’ culture- once on the Internet, stays always on the internet! So if you are somehow experimenting with your identity over the web, then it is completely uncool. Imagine a situation where someone Google’s your name and finds a few unwanted images of yours. Don’t you think it can tarnish your identity (especially the professional one)? A good internet presence is an excellent idea- isn’t it?

  • Sometimes, we need to see with whom we are talking, and they want to know us in real (not some unserious weirdo). It is all about being authentic!

Let people get to know you through this real picture- YOUR AVATAR. Ask yourself: if I saw this photo of this person would I want them to comment on my blog or be a part of my world?

I took this photo in Nashville. It says fun, it says yes I like these two girls.
I took this photo in Nashville. It says fun, it says yes I like these two girls.

Trust this information- it will help you to have a good online experience.

Hugs from Perth Australia!

Di

Have the best day! Di
Have the best day!
Di

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8 thoughts on “What is an Avatar?”

    1. Hello Keith,

      Yes Branding is key and especially with a nice big smile to give people a sense of who we are.

      The internet is all about connection, not only social media.

      Thankyou for your comment and time Keith

      Di

  1. I love all your stuff Di but this is perhaps THE best one I have read. Loved every single word of it, clear, supportive, gorgeous pic of you and highly valuable for everyone. Thanks so much.

  2. Hi Di,

    I love this post and such a good idea to have written it. I remember being so nervous about setting up my Gravatar when I started blogging. I am always surprised when I see empty faces when people comment on blogs. Having said that I do remember using a different email address at one stage until someone explained it needed to be linked to my Gravatar.

    Our Avatar does say much about us and you do a great job of communicating who you are through yours.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Sue
    Sue Price recently posted…There Is Love And Fear – You Have A ChoiceMy Profile

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What is an Avatar? | Di Downie – The Ideas Diva.Shaping your ideas into reality