The blogospheric phenomenon of the gravatar, or Globally Recognised Avatar, continues to enchant. In an attempt to explain the concept of the gravatar to my family last night over dinner I found myself horridly entangled, not for the first time, in avatars and atavism. The fact that these two concepts overlap a little (the gods/spirits/ancestors nexus) didn't help. Nor did the fact that I have slight consonant dyslexia and am still coming to grips with the recent discovery that it's 'remuneration' as in munificence and not 'renumeration' as in counting the money again. If I'm not careful I'll end up saying things like nucular and advocado and not even noticing.
Resorting to the dictionary, we found that an avatar is the embodiment of an incorporeal being, particularly a god who appears in human or otherwise manifest form. Hence those little photos, caricatures, sketches and symbols that follow one's cyberpersona about. I want one -- but over at gravatar.com they appear to be having a bit of strife, so I will just have to be patient.
In the meantime, the power of the sorts of images people choose to represent themselves is making me think very hard about what sort of image I'd want to go with. As with the aliases they choose, most people's gravatars reveal far more about them than I think they intended to say.