Every social media account needs a profile picture, and Twitter is no different. Some like to say that you should change it minimally, but I change mine once or twice a year depending on my mood--sometimes with the seasons. Fall? Let’s throw on a sweater. Spring? Let’s throw up a shot in the vineyard.
The mood you set in your profile photo can set the tone for your entire feed. No matter how much quality information or witty repartee we send out into our social networks, first impressions are almost always visual. I’ve seen drastic changes in who responds to my Tweets every time I change a photo. I guess that’s why they say photos are worth a thousand words.
To that end, you've got to create the right sized image or you're effectively sabotaging yourself with a stretched and pixelated profile photo that’s no better than the default Twitter egg.Optimal Twitter Profile Dimensions
I’ve committed to keeping the dimensions on this page up to date at all times, because Twitter changes them from time to time and the web is littered with inaccurate information.
The only thing that Twitter doesn’t change is the shape of your profile photo – a square. And in that regard, one thing you can always count on when formatting a photo for Twitter is that a large square image can always be cropped down to a small square image – the format that Twitter uses. That shape hasn’t changed.
So start large and use the following dimensions as guidelines for how many ways your profile image will be displayed. I got these dimensions by scouring profiles and downloading profile images to check consistency of the dimensions:
- 500 x 500 pixels -- This is as large as your photo will be shown. But, if you upload an image smaller than 500 x 500, it will show up at the smaller size, it won’t stretch to make it bigger. The only time you’ll see the image at this size is when a web user clicks on your profile photo from your profile. Depending on your browser, it may open in a full-sized blank window, or it may pop up.
- 73 x 73 pixels -- This is the second largest size that your Twitter profile photo will be displayed at, and is displayed on your profile page above your bio.
- 48 x 48 pixels – These are the dimensions at which your profile photo will be most commonly seen – in your stream. Whenever you Tweet, the profile photo that shows up next to your Tweet will be at these dimensions.
- 31 x 31 pixels – This is the smallest you’ll see your profile photo and it’s only visible to you. This mini-version of your profile photo only shows up when you are on your “Home” screen.
- Start with a good quality photograph. You have to put something of quality into the equation in order to get quality out. So, make sure you're starting with a high quality image at least 500 x 500 pixels in size.
- Optimize images for the web. If you don’t, Twitter will do it for you by reducing the file size of your photo by decreasing its quality down to 72 pixels per inch, which is standard for web images.
- Think of your image cropped into a square. Twitter will ask you to crop your image into a square, so if you are using an image that’s better left for a landscape, you may want to choose a new photo.
- Select a photo that stars you, not your collar. Once you have a quality image, make sure that it's cropped to put your face right in the center because other objects will cause a distraction.
- Optimize your header image. Twitter also has a Twitter header image, which is displayed directly behind your profile photo. The size that Twitter asks you to upload is 1252 x 626. One note is that this image fades to black because your Twitter bio is placed on top of it. You can also upload a background image if you want; of which there are many templates to choose from.
When you log-on to Twitter, you won't see dozens of images as you do on Facebook and Pinterest. But that's part of the power behind Twitter anyway -- it puts messages front and center. Your profile picture, however, is the first thing someone will look it.
There's not a great deal of real estate, so your Twitter profile pic has to speak for itself. And in order to accomplish that, you'll have to size your image in a way that not only conveys a message, but also is optimized for the platform.