What Does Your Twitter Avatar & Background Say About YOU?

Do you think your Twitter avatar and background have an impact on how your current and potential followers view you? Can using an “inappropriate” avatar or background actually  be a reason to lower the number Twitter users interested in following you or even attract the “wrong” type of followers?

A few introductory words…

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Don’t judge a book by its cover“. But how else would you judge a book if you can’t really see what’s inside of it in terms of content originality, uniqueness, usefulness and/or creativity? The same applies to interaction over social media channels, especially in the case of Twitter!

Regardless of which follow technique you’re using, you will eventually evaluate those you are planning to follow based on one or more of  these elements:

  • Activity (number of tweets).
  • Engagement (number of retweets).
  • Following to followers ratio.
  • Profile name.
  • The avatar (and sometimes the background as well).

Taking that into consideration, I guess it’s safe to say that your avatar and background can say something about you!

What do you want them to say?

Each of us uses Twitter for a certain aim and tweets for a different reason. Therefore, it is highly essential that your avatar and background are able to clearly corroborate the message you’re trying to communicate.

Below, you will find the top 5 ways how your Twitter avatar matters followed by another list of top 4 ways how your twitter background matters …

5 top ways how your avatar matters:

  1. Recognition: It has been proven that human beings are wired in a manner which allows them to recognize and remember faces. Therefore, if you use a picture of your face in your avatar, you have a higher percentage of being remembered by your followers.

    Mashable: An Avatar People Will Remember!

    Mashable: An Avatar People Will Remember!

  2. Expression: What your expression says in your avatar can actually be a factor in determining who follows you and why! Let’s say your smiling, a sincere smile is considered engaging and attracts people to you but a goofy smile might give off an unprofessional impression.

    Example of Expressions in Avatars

    Example of Expressions in Avatars

  3. Intrusion: Sometimes, especially if you’re using a logo for your avatar, your many tweets might seem more intrusive! Seeing a logo appear 5-6 times on my Twitter home page is far more annoying than seeing a unique or expressive avatar repeated several times.
  4. Uniqueness: Flash-generated, Japanese animated avatars are not the solution! Sure they are very easy to create but they are repetitive and make you “just like millions of others out there”!
  5. Meaning & Relevancy: Your avatar should tell a story about you, your company, your service, your product, what you do or who you are and so on. Unless you account is promoting pet shelters, try to avoid using pets as avatars. The more the relevant your avatar, the more it will stick to your follower’s memory!

    An example of Avatar Relevancy

    An example of Avatar Relevancy

Top 4 ways how your background matters:

  1. Generic is Boring: Twitter offers you a range of Twitter backgrounds to you. But as we all know, and in comparison to the huge number of Twitter users, those backgrounds have become generic, thus boring! Even if you background is a picture of the seaside for example, like mine is, at least it shows that you placed some effort in finding it and choosing it!

    Generic Could Be Boring!

    Generic Could Be Boring!

  2. Can be Informative: You have all this space behind your profile page to utilize whichever way you please. Use it wisely! Many users actually take advantage of the background to talk more about themselves, who they are and add additional information that otherwise won’t fit in their bio! You can also use your Twitter product to promote products or services.
  3. Humor is A Bliss: Humor can help you better reach your audience, depending on the line of work you’re in. Don’t hesitate to use it whenever possible!

    Using Humor & Creativity for Twitter Backgrounds

    Using Humor & Creativity for Twitter Backgrounds

  4. Can be Repulsive: I think, and I’m sure many ladies out there agree, there are many “repulsive” Twitter backgrounds out there! If you are planning to show a professional or even a helpful profile, avoid using backgrounds which can be offensive or uncalled for.

Finally…

Did you know that you can find lists of Twitter’s top spammer avatars and others of others of extremely creative ones? Do you also know that there has been competitions set up to nominate the best Twitter avatar? What does that tell you? I think it’s simple: Your avatar does matter!

Therefore, for my closing words, I’d love to hear your any more additions you might have to the tips I have provided and ask you: What would be your favorite choice of avatars?

To conclude, and as a way to help you get on the saddle for a better overall Twitter experience and results, here’s a list of 3 free sites for customized Twitter backgrounds… Enjoy!

Comments and Reactions

  • http://twitter.com/Krud Krud

    Okay, you’ve got me there! I have blocked people before based solely on their avatar or name, if it was offensive enough. Or if I’m following someone with, say, a puppy avatar with the username “ILoveLife” but at some point they’ve changed their avatar and name to a spread-eagle model named “SexFrosting.” O_o (Though odds are it’d be reflected in their tweets, unless they’re trying to pretend to not be a spammer.)

  • http://twitter.com/Krud Krud

    This is probably good advice for a lot of tweeps out there, but I personally put very little stock in avatars, choosing to focus almost exclusively on tweet content. Someone could have the most awesome/adorable/fun/interesting avatar ever, but if they do nothing but retweet other people, or spam me, or limit themselves to what song they're listening to on the radio, I won't follow them. Conversely, your avatar can be the generic text smiley (aka “no avatar”) but if I like what you have to say, I'll follow you. Even if your username is something off-putting, like ZimaGal37x, or Krud. :P

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    @JohnLusher @Mashable @HomelessDC Your avatars inspired this post :) Thank you so much for being such great tweeples :) – @bkmacdaddy Your background image ROCKS, it colored my post! :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    You do have a great sense of humor :) Thanks for your feedback! Let me ask you something though, would you follow someone with a “repulsive” or “offensive” avatar just because they have nice tweets? I personally can't! Sometimes the avatar has the ability to get on my nerves and can actually lead me to unfollow a certain tweep… I know I have unfollowed many due to offensive backgrounds or even “nasty” or “foul” usernames :)

  • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

    Rather than background, I’m more concerned of the user name.

    Usually I’d check their tweets just to make sure. If it’s actually interesting I’d follow them regardless of the avatar. Besides, pointing to the updates, I had my defence to my friends on why I followed them.
    But most of the time, those users with sex-related name or avatar are spammer anyway, judging from their updates.

  • http://www.bkmacdaddy.com/blog Brian McDaniel

    Thanks so much for including my background in your GREAT post! I have to admit that I'm very proud of it and I get countless comments and compliments. I am absolutely POSITIVE it has not only influenced some to follow me or engage in conversation with me on Twitter, but it has also been a part of bringing new clients my way. I 100% agree with your post – a background and avatar can make or break the decision for me if I'm going to follow someone. It won't be the only reason, but I have to be able to see SOMETHING about you if I'm going to follow.

    Great post!

  • socialpolitan

    I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work :-)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    @bkmacdaddy 's background is so cool! heheh! I would follow him just for that :P.

    I think that you make really good points. Avatars and backgrounds like love at first sight, it can give a good/bad first impression and determine your perception of the tweets behind the profile. Why not give it some time and come up with a good one? it is certainly an added value.

  • levicruz

    Thanks for posting this. I am an advocate of always making sure that one takes some time to actually give some attention to their Background, avatar, and bio its the very first thing that introduce you to people. A way for them to know your interest. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/selfdevOrg Verena Fischer

    Great post! I usually look at avatar and background, but the final decision is always based on the last few tweets and the follower – following ratio. I actually don't even mind a few ads in the tweets, as long as the rest sounds interesting! A great looking avatar and a nice background just gives a good first impression, which is always good.

  • http://www.zemeks.blogspot.com/ Karen Zemek

    Thanks for the info. I tried Twitter Designer and it worked!

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  • http://twitter.com/vene2ia Yvonne

    Thanks for your interesting post, Beirut. This is a topic which fascinates me. Because I've got a non-face shadow avatar (i.e., not your standard person or company logo avatar), I have often wondered what this means to others. So, I actually did some research on this to find out!

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  • http://twitter.com/crganesh crganesh

    Well, its really a very good advise – I could say..!
    You really did something about Tweeples psychology – I am going to change my avatar picture; going to increase my smile with another photo.

    Yeah, I agree that – you have to welcome someone with broad smile in your face – that's the good way of interaction (you can call that one as telepathy :D)

  • DebbyBruck

    Beirut ~ I like what you've written and it is worthwhile for others to take some of your advice. Your avatar is certainly memorable and also your helpful and positive tweets. I would like to hear some advice about following tweeps who just have long lists of FOLLOW people's names instead of any conversations, valuable news links, or inspirational thoughts. Have a super day! Debby

  • http://www.goinspirebeauty.blogspot.com/ Go Inspire

    Very informative article. Thank you for bringing to light the importance of the visual presence on Twitter! Really makes me think about relevance and how to approach others with this concept.

  • http://twitter.com/tidobi Jan Harvey

    This is very informative and now I definitely will reconsider my own avatar and background. I surely have a lot to learn. Thanks for the insight!

  • http://www.easyrecovery.ie/ Data Recovery

    yes, I agree to you. I also liked to read this blogs entry.

  • http://www.dotjenna.com/ dotJenna

    This is a great article. I see a convention brewing of just a face and a smile. This must work best. I prefer to include my brand colors for recognition purposes. I think generic Twitter backgrounds are boring and make you appear lazy.

  • http://twitter.com/xSDOx W.I.L..HeOrWon'tHe?

    I don't have a “smile” (LOL)…but overall, I think my branding is good! Great article/observations.

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  • taylorpotter

    Your twitter background is a reflection of an account owner's personality. The background he chooses defines what things he do or deals. An account for example which bears a professional twitter background tells that the person is into a small business enterprise and is probably advertising or selling already. My friend who is an owner of a small business uses professional twitter backgrounds for his twitter business accounts. On the other hand, persons who are artistically inclined tend to choose their page designs from among the retro twitter backgrounds because the vintage feel of the design appeals to them.

    Twitter is one good social media for different purposes. One should know how to exhaust its capability in reaching people by being interesting, and being interesting entails choosing the artistic background that suits not just your personality but your posts as well.

  • FatosiM

    Thank you very much – This was really helpful

    http://twitter.com/CausingTraumaZ

  • http://twitter.com/xzykho rod rodriguez

    Hmmmn, never thought of that before… brilliant points you made here.

  • http://twitter.com/adrence Adrence Apong

    This is an AWESOME article, just perfect to end my so called the month of AWESOMENESS! Keep on #SMILING!

  • http://www.ruhanirabin.com/ Ruhani Rabin

    I am still wondering .. where and which one i can fit into .. geez.. this is so hard (funny tone)

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  • Zlob Barie

    OMG – and what if my intentions r simplly tweeting?

  • http://www.greenscreenbackgrounds.net/virtual-sets-for-green-screen/ Virtual sets for green screen

    I followed these links and found, that you don't actually have to pay to get cool Twitter backgrounds. I found many web pages, which also offer cool and interesting design for Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/qutequte qutequte

    I have found nothing in your article to disagree with! Very good advise – thank you! ^_^ P.S. My avatar is quite outdated (for now!)

  • http://www.zenlayout.com company logo

    Good point, I guess I thought of those sites as more for “amateur” designers to try their hand at design rather than for professional designers.

  • http://twitter.com/e_Booksmaster Joseph D. Shiller

    A couple of my observations:

    1-With the new Twitter interface a much larger % of the background is blocked out making the effect of custom backgrounds far more irrelevant than they use to be.

    2-With the new Twitter interface your name is now very large with your user-name now smaller and secondary in text size, which is a reversal on what it used to be making and interesting change in the perception of ones profile.

    3-There seems to be many variations on how to manifest your presence, if you using Twitter for your business. Some people use their logo, others use their face, some have two account, one for each. Hard to say what works best, especially if you are trying to create a brand. I guess it depends on your particular objectives.

    4- Spam has a lot of definitions, like everything from advertisements to unauthorized emails. One thing seems to be certain, which goes for (Facebook pages vs. Facebook profiles too), is that if you set up your Twitter profile as a business, then it’s more expected that your tweets will be about promoting your business and less personally oriented.

    5-In choosing who I follow, I put substantial weight into the bio and the link below the bio (and what that link goes to). I feel this says a lot about the user, perhaps even more than the Avatar and background.

  • http://twitter.com/e_Booksmaster Joseph D. Shiller

    A few of my observations:

    1-With the new Twitter interface a much larger % of the background is blocked out making the effect of custom backgrounds far more irrelevant than they use to be.

    2-With the new Twitter interface your name is now very large and your user-name now smaller and secondary in text size, which is a reversal on what it used to be making and interesting change in the perception of ones profile.

    3-There seems to be many variations on how to manifest your presence, if you using Twitter for your business. Some people use their logo, others use their face, some have two account, one for each. It’s hard to say what works best, especially if you are trying to create a brand. I guess it depends on your particular objectives.

    4- Spam has a lot of definitions, like everything from advertisements to unauthorized emails. One thing seems to be certain, which goes for (Facebook pages vs. Facebook profiles too), is that if you set up your Twitter profile as a business, then it’s more expected that your tweets will be about promoting your business and less personally oriented.

    5- In choosing who I follow, I put substantial weight into the bio and the link below the bio. I feel this says a lot about the user, perhaps even more than the avatar and the background.

  • http://twitter.com/the_architect The_Architect

    I have no idea what you would make of mine.

  • http://twitter.com/the_architect The_Architect

    I have no idea what you would make of my background and avatar….

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