WordPress, probably the most well-known open source blog publishing application, is turning to Gravatar, a little-known service that provides globally-unique avatars, to give its users a new and improved way of customizing their profiles.
Previously, profiles on WordPress had been rudimentary and pretty unexciting.
"What if your Gravatar wasn’t just an image that showed up when you comment, but you could attach more of yourself to it to better represent your style, flair, and personality not just with more photos but with links to all the cool stuff you’re doing around the Web," writes Beau Lebens on the official WordPress blog. "That’s what Gravatar profiles are, and they’re now live to the world and easy to edit right inside your dashboard."
The coolest thing about Gravatar is that all the personalization comes down to linking the page to other services the user employs. Similar to other business card-like sites, like Google Profiles, the Gravatar-WordPress profiles present an all-in-one location to access a person's online doings.
The openness and transparency traditionally associated with both Gravatar and WordPress will continue to be upheld, confirmed Lebens, meaning that users will know clearly what they are sharing publicly.
All of this is very interesting because, as of February 2010, WordPress was home to over 22 million publishers. Assuming that statistic has not changed drastically and since today's announcement says all profiles will automatically become public soon, some might be persuaded that WordPress intends to nurture some sort of pseudo-social network. There's no reason it couldn't, with its already active network of users.