Over the last few months, it seems like all of the major social media sites got some kind of design makeover. Facebook got Timeline, which, of course, includes a cover photo that many marketers have used for branding purposes. Google+ has added profile features and a header image of their own. Even LinkedIn got a facelift recently. While LinkedIn’s focus isn’t at all on sharing images, its update did do more to improve the look of images shared with articles.
So we can probably all agree that images have been a major focus recently.
It was only a matter of time, then, until Twitter made some updates in this area, as well.
On September 18, Twitter announced those updates. The look of the profile has changed just enough to be noticeable without being a complete overhaul (á la Facebook).
Whereas the current Twitter profile shows the user image on the left with the bio right next to it, the “new Twitter,” as it’s once more being dubbed, moves the “clickables” – tweets, following, followers, favorites, lists – up to the top left where the profile image used to be. In the center, above the tweet stream, there is now – you guessed it – a header image. The user image, handle, and bio sit in the center of the header image. The count for tweets, followers, and following, as well as the option to follow/unfollow sits right below the image.
To complement your user and header images, you can also more easily upload a background image now, as well. This really makes the visual experience by tying it all together.
What’s more, there’s more emphasis on the photo stream, as well, especially within the apps. The new Twitter features more of your uploaded photos at a time, further exemplifying its focus on the visual.
Speaking of visuals, let’s take a look at a few, shall we? Below, my profile page shows the way Twitter profiles currently look: image and bio in the top left with only a few images showcased.
The Today Show‘s page shows off the new profile look, as you can see in this screen shot. The overall look, with the header image, profile image, and larger number of showcased pictures in the photo stream, demonstrates a clear shift toward the visual.
Marketers are eager to take advantage of the new look to help increase brand visibility. This new look does more than just allow for a greater number of branded images, however. It allows for a unified brand experience. From start to finish, no matter what device you use to view a profile – your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or computer – the look will be the same.
Something I found interesting: when Facebook introduced its cover images, it also introduced some general rules that went along with them. For example, they tried to steer users away from using cover images with a lot of text or anything incredibly promotional. While Twitter hasn’t announced any rules like that yet, they have encouraged using images that “reflect your brand or current campaign.”
Another neat little feature that the site now boasts is the ability to pin an important tweet to the top of your stream. Much like you can pin content to the top of your Facebook feed, you can now pin tweets promoting your events or must-read content so that they’re the first item a visitor sees.
Of course, though these are great updates for Twitter, especially from a visual perspective, their usefulness is contingent upon one thing: followers visiting your page. Sure, new followers might stop by, but what we love about social media is our ability to get all of our information in one stream so that we don’t have to visit each individual page. Essentially, this will become the same question marketers have asked themselves about Facebook’s visual updates, as well. Whether or not it will be a deterrent when it comes to Twitter remains to be seen – especially while the changes are still opt-in.
Eager to get started with your own updated Twitter profile? Visit your Design page under your settings and find the options for the header. You will notice that it gives you the best dimensions to use.
Want more info?
Check out Twitter’s official blog post announcing the changes or take a look at these quick tips for getting started.
Are you excited about Twitter’s new look? We’d love to hear your thoughts!