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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter Avatar’

Twitter Bug #23,423: Now When You Click On A Profile Avatar, It Gets Smaller

About a year-and-a-half ago I wrote a post that suggested that when you upload your profile avatar to Twitter it needs to a big image. Not enormous, but a decent size: say, 400×400 pixels.

Why? Because when people visit your profile and click on your avatar, they expect to see something larger appear. That’s the way the internet works – images are scaled down to fit into a given space, but if they’re clickable we expect them to get bigger. While Twitter automatically scales down your avatar to a 48×48 thumbnail for people’s streams, your profile image scales up to 128×128, and when you click on that you instinctively expect it to get even bigger, because there’s been a progression there.

This used to be what happened. But now, all of a sudden, when you click on an on avatar on a typical profile page the image doesn’t get bigger it all. It gets smaller. And it all looks a bit daft.

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Thinking About Changing Your Twitter Avatar? 5 Quick Tips To Help You Find The Perfect Picture

Your Twitter avatar, that little picture that accompanies every single message you publish on the network, is important. Probably more important than you think – a poll I ran a couple of years ago revealed that only 5% of my readers didn’t care about the avatar of the people they were following.

Here are five quick tips to help you get it right.

1. We Want To See YOU

You should always use a recent photo of your face for your avatar – 58% of my readers prefer and expect that.

And just your face – not a close-up of your eyeball, not a picture of you (at least, we think it’s you) from a mile away, and definitely not a picture of your pet, your baby, your favourite celebrity or all of the above. Just your face, shoulders up, and nothing too staged or iStockphotoesque. A good, but regular picture of you.

Exceptions: if you’re a brand with an established, recognisable logo, and/or your Twitter profile is managed by a team (as opposed to one person), then it makes sense to put your ego to one side and use your logo.

Otherwise, no exceptions. Face, face, face.

2. Your Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

Upload a large image in as high a resolution as you can manage taken with a decent digital camera – go for a JPG or PNG over a GIF. Twitter allows up to 700KB and will shrink it down for you to 48×48 pixels, but when somebody visits your profile page and clicks on your image it should get bigger, not stay the same size. I’ve requested a close-up – please don’t disappoint.

(I’ve actually seen a few that get smaller – just how low does your self-esteem have to be?)

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What’s Better for your Business on Twitter: A Logo or a Photo?

The debate has been raging on the Twitter-sphere for some time now: is it better for your business to have a logo as your avatar or a photo? While there haven’t been any studies done on the effectiveness of either (but we’d love to see one!), we thought we’d weigh on the debate in with our two cents, too.
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Why Your Twitter Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

I’ve written about this before within the context of larger articles but it bears repeating as it’s important and I still see it happening far too often with new (and old) accounts, and even some very glamorous celebrities.

While Twitter automatically re-sizes your profile avatar to 73 by 73 pixels for display in timelines, this doesn’t mean you should make your image this size when you create it. In fact, my recommendation is that you image needs to be a minimum of 300 pixels wide (and/or high), for the following reasons.

  1. When somebody visits your profile and clicks on your image, it just feels a little, well, strange when that image stays the same size or – and this happens more than you might like to believe – actually gets smaller. (Yes – some people are uploading tiny images that Twitter is then making bigger within the stream). When I click on your image, I want to see YOU. Or I want to see YOUR brand logo. In all of its splendour.
  2. Many external Twitter software clients have a built-in profile viewer. In some cases, these viewers will make the profile avatar significantly bigger than 73 x 73 pixels, which leads to a horribly distorted, grainy effect on small avatars, which makes you look like a porn star. We already have enough of those on Twitter, and I’m sure it’s not the way you were intended to represent yourself.

Two well-known accounts who get it right:

Why Your Twitter Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

Why Your Twitter Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

Okay, not everybody looks like Katy Perry. But if you’re using a small avatar image because you’re unhappy with your picture, then change the picture. I wholeheartedly recommended that all individuals on Twitter and all persons representing their company or brand as an individual use their own photo for their avatar – it makes you seem real – but that means taking the time to find one that best represents who you are. A close-up of your eyeball or a snapshot of the miniature you taken from a couple of miles away doesn’t really tell me an awful lot, but if that’s what you want then the image should still get bigger when you click on it.

Otherwise, it absolutely feels like you’re hiding away. That you’re ashamed of that picture. That may well be the case – I’m no Hugh Jackman myself – but that means making a little effort to find (or take) a photograph that you like and are confident to share with the world. Trust me on this: it pays off because it makes the right impression. When we visit your profile page we want to see YOU – not Twitter’s chopped-down version thereof.