These days, it’s all about the Big Images.
Following in the footsteps of Google+ and the other networks, Twitter has overhauled your profile page to use a much larger header image (cover photo), as well as a larger profile image. These changes reflect the current trends in social media with users wanting to express themselves with larger and larger images.
But there’s more to it than that. Twitter is also rolling out a few changes in how your tweets are found and displayed, which should prove very interesting. You can activate your new profile here.
Larger Cover Photo
So first things first. The image that currently appears at the top of your profile, behind your profile image, is getting big. Very big. Here’s my current profile, which has not yet been upgraded:
And here’s the profile of French TV personality Nikos Aliagas:
The new cover photo is designed to take up the entire screen and will resize with the size of your browser.
Cover Photo images should be 1500 x 500 when uploaded. A note though from Lee Smallwood, that the visible part of the image appears to be just 1500 x 389, so make sure your important elements are within the top 389px.
Note that the overall width of the Twitter profile content has also been expanded significantly.
Larger Profile Image
Similarly, our profile images are getting larger too. Uploaded images should be 256×256. They’ve also been moved to the left of your timeline, rather than centered on your cover photo.
Below your profile image is your Bio, along with new treatment of your location, website link and the date you joined Twitter.
Individual tweets are being displayed with larger font and a new font face, while your thumbnail image, name and Twitter handle are actually smaller, bringing the focus on the content of the tweet.
And your tweets that are getting particularly high engagement (more favorites, retweets, etc.) will actually be displayed with even larger font to bring further attention to them.
Do note that the new tweet format on profile pages drops the Expand link that would hae displayed the full tweet along with summary Twitter Card information. Instead, now, simply click on the tweet anywhere other than a link or hashtag to open it up. Tweets in the normal stream remain unchanged.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new design is the ability to pin tweets. If you have a tweet that is particularly important, you can now pin it to the top of your stream so that users viewing your profile will see it first. Since the half-life of a tweet is down to just 18 minutes, this is huge for businesses that want to give new followers immediate direction!
To pin a tweet, click on the … button for “more” and select “Pin to your profile page”. Like this:
Any pinned tweet will immediately replace any previous tweet you might have pinned.
Finally, when viewing a profile, you will be able to select the kinds of tweets you would like to view, whether just tweets, tweets and replies, or tweets with photos and video.
Note that under the cover photo, there are now options for “PHOTOS/VIDEOS” and “FAVORITES” for you or your followers to select.
While many of us will once again have to update our cover photos and profile images, I think these changes represent some very interesting improvements overall.
Social Media Branding
What these changes certainly represent are continued opportunities for businesses to communicate brand. The profile image that you choose and the cover photo that you upload can go a long way toward communicating to new followers who you are as a business.
Brand imagery though is more than just throwing up pictures of your products. Give careful thought to the imagery that you use! Profile images should be consistent across social profiles, and cover photos should appeal to customers.
Twitter has released the update initially to a select few profiles, but all new profiles created starting today will automatically get the new layout. Everyone else will roll out over time. If you’re interested in seeing some of the updated profiles for yourself, here’s a list from Twitter:
- Film stars @zacefron and @channingtatum
- French TV host @nikosaliagas
- Australian Football League @AFL
- First Lady Michelle Obama @flotus
- Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter @gilbertogil
- Boxer @FloydMayweather
- TV star @kerrywashington
- Musicians @JohnLegend and band @weezer
UPDATE: You can activate your new profile here.
Adjusting Your Profile
Once your profile is eligible to apply the new update, you will see a banner message across the top of your screen inviting you to try the new layout. You can click Yes, and your profile will automatically be adjusted. You’ll have the option of going back to your old layout, which might be a good idea initially if you don’t have a good header image ready.
With the new layout active, Twitter will give you a brief tour of the new changes, and prompt you to upload a new header graphic. When I went through it with one of my client’s Twitter profiles, their old header graphic was gone and replaced with a solid block of color until I uploaded a new graphic for them.
As mentioned above, the header graphic should be 1500 x 500, though it can be smaller than that. Twitter will allow you to upload smaller images and then scale and position them accordingly. The problem, of course, is that if you upload a smaller image and scale it there’s a good chance it will look scaled and distorted, so upload header images as wide as possible.
While your profile is in edit mode, you will be able to change your Bio, Website and Location in the left sidebar, as well as your profile image, though your old profile image will remain intact.
Additionally, you can now also adjust how the links on your profile page appear by changing their color. This is a nice, subtle addition to the branding ability of businesses on Twitter. The new color will also apply to the border around the “Tweet To” box in the left sidebar, and the linked Tweet counts below the cover photo. Savvy businesses will coordinate their profile image (logo) with their cover photo with their link color to present a consistent brand image.
Interestingly, if you have uploaded a custom background or selected a theme, those settings remain within the rest of your account settings, and those choices still apply – to the rest of Twitter. When viewing your home stream or Discovery or other sections of Twitter, you’ll see your background and theme. The profile settings apply to the profile only. And by the same token, you cannot adjust the background of your profile page.
What do you think about the new Twitter profile?