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.