Twitter has always been more text-focused (albeit, in 140 characters or less) than Facebook, but with the recent popularity of image-based social sites like Pinterest and Instagram, that may be changing. It is the year of the image, after all.
This morning Twitter unveiled a new layout which introduced header images that are similar to the ones on Facebook’s Timeline.
Product manager Sachin Agarwal wrote about the changes on Twitter’s Blog:
Starting today you can make your presence on Twitter more meaningful with new Twitter profiles. Upload an all-new header photo on mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android or twitter.com, and the same image will appear whenever anyone views your profile on the web or these apps. You can upload your header photo, which appears above your Tweets, to express yourself instantly, anywhere.
New profiles also help you get to know people better through their pictures. Photo streams now appear below anyone’s most recent Tweets on iPhone, Android and iPad. Swipe through the stream to see the photos other users have shared or tap any thumbnail to view their photos in fullscreen.
Is the idea to make Twitter more like Facebook? Will Oremus at Slate.com thinks so. “ In Twitter’s ideal world, Facebook would become the site where you put the profile that you want to show your friends—and Twitter would become your public face on the Web,” writes Oremus.
The response to the Twitter changes on Twitter? So-so.
“Twitter is doing that Michael Jackson thing, just changing a little bit each time until we all realize what a mess it is,” tweeted Annemarie Brown (@AdmiralAkBrown).
“Twitter really has just confuzled me with their recent series of what seem like batshit decisions. ” tweeted social media expert Suw Charman-Anderson (@Suw)
I find it ironic that so many people who work in the constantly changing world of technology are so reluctant to change (remember the uproar over Facebook’s Timeline?). That said, in this case, I agree with their complaints. I can’t see how larger header photos are going to improve Twitter. I don’t want Twitter to be my public face for the web. Also, on a practical level, the change is problematic because the larger images will take up more space, which will inevitably cause Twitter to crash even more frequently. Plus, now I have to find just the perfect photo to represent me!
What do you think of Twitter’s changes? Will you add a header image? If you need tips on how to actually add it, check out Cecily’s post in which she very patiently walks you through the process, which, as she points out, is “actually kind of a real pain in the ass.”