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Twitter Gives Brands New Profiles But It’s Not That Great

Brands have been looking for ways to differentiate themselves on Twitter. Some have done a really great job with modifying their Twitter background and others have struggled with deciding on whether or not the profile photo should be a logo or a person.

Today Twitter rolled out for all profiles, the ability to add a header image and enhancements for the background image.  The header image is a great place to add visual content like a book or a product offering. Or for personal accounts, you can add an image of something else that defines who you are, like a photo of you speaking or of your family.

NOTE: Currently you don’t have to add one if you don’t want to, but as of November, ALL profiles will have the default slate gray image at the top of their page (and it’s ugly).

The background image enhancements is designed to give brands the flexibility of aligning your background image right, left or center. But see below for my issues with this feature.

Adding a Header Image

Edit your profile and under the Design tab (if you are logged into Twitter you can go to: https://twitter.com/settings/design) and you’ll see the following:

You can upload a pre-defined image or a custom image which must be 1252 x 626 pixels for optimal display.

The results look like this (although see below for a few things I don’t like):

What I don’t like:

I think that in theory the header image was a great idea. But when I first tried to upload an image, I didn’t realize that the center square icon (the profile photo) you see in my image and the username of Social Strand Media, the Twitter handle, the location, the bio, and the URL overlay on top of your image. Which, I’m not a graphic designer, but this is really ugly.

You can’t delete the profile photo. I deleted the bio, but now when people come to the page, they have no idea of what Social Strand Media tweets about.

As for background enhancements, the whole left, right, center thing is still not all that useful for a designer. I suppose if you are a novice and you upload your picture and you want it to be a little to the left or right, then this allows you to easily move it. But from a designer perspective, they are modifying the image, not moving it left or right. Also, Twitter has never really said what the pixel size of the background image should be and it’s because it depends on the person’s screen resolution on their computer. But they could make a recommendation for the standard screen resolution (1024×768), although with tablets and mobile these days, I guess it’s safer that they don’t make a recommendation in pixels.

Here’s a link to Twitter’s blog post on this.

Also, here’s a one-pager from Twitter on image specifications.

What do you think? Do you like the new enhancements?

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.