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What You Need to Know About the New Twitter
What You Need to Know About the New Twitter

Buckle your social media seat belts, everyone: Twitter is rolling out a new design.

For a social media platform that has remained fairly consistent design-wise since its inception in 2006—that’s like four decades ago in internet years—the new look and features are bound to ruffle a few Twitter feathers. Already, users have the choice to opt-in to the more image-heavy profile layout—one that looks awfully familiar.

When the changes become ubiquitous, current users will have a few decisions to make in order to keep their profiles from looking too out-of-date. Here are some of those decisions we’re currently helping our clients work through as we update their Twitter profiles to the new look.

What do I want my header image to be?
If you’re a Facebook user, you’re already familiar with this decision. In the new Twitter profile, a sizable chunk of the top of the page will display a generous 1500×500-pixel header image. Users who appreciate more design real estate will be able to take advantage of another opportunity to establish a vibrant visual identity.

Is my current profile picture the right size?
In keeping with the Facebook-themed redesign, the new Twitter features a more prominent profile picture. Your current picture will automatically be repurposed for the new design, but for best results, make sure you’re using a 400×400-pixel image. Otherwise, you’re going to look a little grainy.

What tweet do I especially want the world to see?
In the classic Twitter design (see, I’m already nostalgic), tweets were displayed in chronological order, starting with the most recent. They’re still chronological, but now, you’ll be able to “pin” a tweet to the top for as long you want it to stay there. The usefulness of this feature remains to be seen for individual accounts, but if your business has a particularly actionable tweet to promote (e.g., “Sign up here!”) it will allow you to keep it prominently displayed without having to retweet it constantly.

Are Twitter and I still right for each other?
Why Twitter would want to look more like Facebook is beyond me. It may have something to do with Twitter’s declining user growth and the fact that they are now responsible to quite a few shareholders. Maybe the more friendly, easy-to-use, and clearly familiar design will attract a new wave of users who had previously felt snubbed by Twitter’s esoteric, “in-crowd” atmosphere. If so, it’s an opportunity for businesses to expand their Twitter following—a necessity if Twitter’s advertising is to succeed.

But why does the new Twitter make me so angry?
I know, right? I liked Twitter precisely for its inaccessible, labyrinthine codes and conventions. Even though it’s always been a very public space, Twitter has been able to facilitate intimate connections and conversations better than many other social media platforms and networks. The new design, although a potential boon for businesses and celebrities, will sacrifice some of its current folksy allure, alienating some Twitter purists. And that could be risky for Twitter.

But then again, maybe it’s me who needs an update. I haven’t changed my profile photo since 2011 and have refused to acknowledge the new Facebook design for the past three years. Change is hard.