Twitter Gets a Facelift, But Don’t Update Your Profile Just Yet

- April 24, 2014

Earlier this month, Twitter announced that profiles were getting a facelift. They first rolled out the new design to a handful of accounts, including the profiles for movie star Zac Efron and boxer Floyd Mayweather. Now, the new profiles are available to everyone. Before you switch, it’s important to make sure that you have the brand assets in place to ensure your profile will appear correctly within the new layout.

The new look is different from what Twitter users are accustomed to, and includes updated (and much larger) header images and profile images. (From a brand’s perspective, you can check out Nike, Ford, and Microsoft.) Before you switch, it’s important to make sure that your header image and profile images are large enough to accommodate the new look.

Here’s an overview of the changes:

  • The header image now takes up the entire top of the profile. The new dimensions Twitter recommends are 1252px in width by 626px in height OR 1500px in width by 500px in height. We recommend using high resolution imagery in order to ensure that the image is clear.
  • The profile picture has shifted to the left. The new dimensions are 400px in width by 400px in height. This is larger than the previous size, so we recommend using a 400×400 pixel image so your profile image won’t appear pixelated.
  • The size of some Tweets will be altered as well. “Best Tweets,” as Twitter is referring to them, are those that receive more buzz and will appear slightly larger than others in the feed. Very simply, Twitter wants the more engaging Tweets to get noticed. Therefore, brands must focus on answering the question: “Will this Tweet inspire engagement from our audience?”
  • For the first time since its inception, Twitter is allowing for a change in the chronological order of Tweets on a page. The new “Pinned Tweet” will allow users to pin a tweet to the top of their feed. There are a lot of possibilities with pinning a Tweet, whether it be an important message you want to share, or a promotion or special event. However, it is important to avoid overusing this feature, or keeping an old Tweet pinned to the top of your profile long after its gone stale.
  • Users will now have the choice of which timeline they would prefer to view when checking out profiles. The options will be to see Tweets only, Tweets with accompanied photos and videos, or Tweets and replies to other Tweets. The new features, however, don’t stop there.
  • The new profiles will show when the user first joined Twitter, as well as followers they may know (mainly, profiles who you follow that also follow this profile). Additionally, the timeline will now display who the person/brand recently started following, though at the moment this feature is only shown when choosing the “Tweets” viewing option.

So what hasn’t changed?

  • The verified symbol  is staying, as is the album of all photos and videos that have been tweeted, and the box to Tweet directly to the profile. Users will still be able to see which phrases and hashtags are trending, along with suggestions on who to follow.
  • The anatomy of a Tweet hasn’t changed either. You can still apply hashtags, Favorite and Retweet others’ Tweets, and share images and videos. This update won’t significantly change what we Tweet. It still remains important as ever to think strategically about your content and plan what will be posted in advance.
  • Currently, these changes only affect the timeline for the desktop version. The update will not be implemented now on Twitter’s mobile site or app. The new features also do not apply to the home feed of Tweets from those you follow.

Before switching, we recommend that you gather the necessary high resolution images for the header and profile content regions as mentioned above. To switch, follow the instructions here. Twitter has given a vague “in the coming weeks” as a time frame for when all users can expect to see their profile change, so it is important to be proactive and update your images as soon as possible. Of course, any new profile set up from here out will have the new design.

With this new layout, Twitter aims to create a user experience that is easier and more fun to express yourself and connect with people. In the ever changing world of social media, networks constantly compete to not only attract new users, but also retain them. It will be interesting to see if Twitter’s new direction helps with both goals.

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