Pavatars, Gravatars, and Power to the Edge

Power to the Edge is the concept of giving people at the periphery of the network the information and ability to interact with other members of other organizations, versus everything coming from the center of an organization. Its a great way of empowering people to make connection across organization silos. The white paper makes a great read!

Recently, for HighTechCville I started aggregating icons for people and organizations. The organizational icons that I am looking for are Favicons, likes this: OSC favicon. However, for individual icons I was importing Gravatars (Global Avatar), like mine: Eric's Gravatar. The problem with Gravatars is that they are all served up from a single server, which has to be up and running in order for HighTechCville to show off the icons. I realized that this is another example of a centralized data structure. And in todays internet, we should push the ability to supply avatars to the edge! This led me to stumble upon Pavatars (Personal Avatar), which work similar to how favicons work, with a pavatar.png image at the root of your website that meets the Pavatar Specification is used by Pavatar supporting websites.

Unfortunately, when I comment on someones blog article and am requested to enter a website, I use /, since that is where I work. And if we had a pavatar.png at the root, wed all be sharing the same icon. What we really need is our own individualized url. Which brings me back to OpenID. I already have a unique URL for OpenID:, and this would be a great place to host my unique Pavatar at! Hopefully this is something some of the OpenID providers will step up to supporting, and then maybe Pavatars hosted from the edge will become commonly looked for and supported!