With just 73×73 pixels to communicate your brand or personality, picking the right Twitter avatar can be a difficult process. A good avatar has to be memorable, well-designed and most of all stand out from the pack. Nevertheless, many Twitter avatars fall into several categories. Here are the most popular:
With so many news organizations and other companies jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, many familiar logos are being transformed into avatars, yet are still instantly recognizable. Most of these avatars are a no-brainer to create.
Nothing says I’m a professional like a classy photo with perfect lighting and the perfect smile. These are great for people who represent a company or institution and usually scream “I mean business.”
The cool headshot is a carryover of the type of photo you’d see used as a default Facebook or MySpace picture. These avatars say “I might be professional, but I’ve got tons of personality.”
Designers, entertainers and all-around creative people seem to favor the colorized photo, which is even cooler than the cool headshot. The tweeters with these avatars are eager to break away from the pack, stand up and be noticed.
The illustrated avatar often signifies that the Tweeter has a larger-than-life personality that cannot be expressed in a regular photo.
Pop culture icons
One of the easiest ways to establish your personal brand of cool is to adopt the personality of a pop culture icon. These tweeps aren’t necessarily associated with a brand and are free to co-opt the iconic imagery of someone or something else.
Mascots are used by companies and online services as a figurehead for the brand. Therefore, it is natural that the mascot also serves as the avatar.
Of course, avatars are not limited to Twitter and ideally the same one should be used on multiple social networking sites. Media companies and established brands especially should use the same avatar across the web, on their own sites and as their favicon. Wherever your avatar is used, be sure it’s a good one that works for you and stick to it. Just be sure it doesn’t look like this:
Also on 10,000 Words:
• The top 7 mistakes new Twitter users make
• 10 Journalists you should follow on Twitter
• 25 Tools for getting more out of Twitter
• Beyond Twitterfeed: Innovative uses of Twitter in the newsroom
• How to analyze your Twitter followers and friends