The most effective gravatars feature the visage of the person, since at that moment the commenter/poster becomes more real, there is a face with that nameâ€¦ a real, living breathing person, not just some text on a webpage. Identity comes into play for the first time, in a way it never had before.
Of late, and for obvious reasons (and some not as obvious), personal connections have become more imporatant to me than I realized they were before. I'm hoping that people who visit this site, and read the comments might see "faces" they recognize. It's been said that no one is the same person to any two other people. Everyone we interact with influences the attitudes, opinions and ideas that we display at any given time. Therefore the comments someone leaves on my site, will come from a slightly different perspective than the comments that they leave on another site. By being able to see the differences, and similarities, in what someone says in response to various issues, and people, we can gain a fuller picture of who a person is. In this way, I hope, we are able to continue to build a community on the net.
So, if you don't have a gravatar, feel free to get one.