Tweets just got longer: big improvements on Twitter

New Profile Design

Easier to work with, Easier to Read

@westernu's new twitter profile (Credit: @mathewh)

@westernu’s new twitter profile (Credit: @mathewh)

Yes, maybe Twitter’s new profile design takes a few pages from other social media sites but does that matter if it’s an improvement? Display images are now larger and more prominent, which is great for everyone – although if you had a small image file, you may want to upload a new version to adapt to the new larger display size.  The small header photo behind your display image, name and bio text is now a big beautiful full-width banner – we have so much more room to work with, and we are no longer limited to photos that work well with having semi-transparent overlay and a jumble of content trying to be readable.  @UofT, the newest higher ed twitter account on the block is one of the few that I’ve seen that actually made the “old Twitter” header photo work for them.

Engagement Encouraged

@uoft's twitter profile pre-redesign

@uoft’s twitter profile pre-redesign

It was my mission in 2014 to become a verified account.  I don’t think there is much doubt about the credibility of our corporate account, but verified users have the added perk that @replies are not displayed on their profile pages. I love that we have a chatty corporate account, but all those interactions can make our original content and retweets hard to find when looking at our profile and I’ve often worried that a potential new follower might look at us and think “wow, I do not want all those replies in my feed” and decide not to follow us (not knowing that they would only see replies that connect to them or people that they follow).

The new profile design solves this! By default, only original tweets and retweets are displayed on the profile’s timeline – clutter begone. The replies are still available, just one click away (click Tweets & Replies to see a comprehensive timeline instead of a nice tidy one, should that be your preference).

In summary:

  • Big beautiful, uncluttered banner photo
  • Larger display image/logo
  • Easier to read profile fields
  • De-cluttered stream of tweets

As a bonus, the fact that you cannot style the background below the banner area brings a clean consistency to a website that previously had a different crazy background that sometimes tiled, sometimes didn’t tile and almost always had something awkwardly wrong about it on every single page. Goodbye MySpace-esque calamity, Hello polished beauty. For more, venture over to Twitter’s official blog post about the new profile design.

Multiple Photos & Photo Tagging

117 characters + 4,000 words

114 characters + 4 photos + 6 accounts tagged

114 characters + 4 photos + 6 accounts tagged

As rumoured, Twitter has made it possible to attach multiple photos to tweets.  Until now, attaching a photo to a tweet would cost you 23 characters.  Now you can add up to four photos, for the same total cost of 23 characters.  In other words, tweets with no photos have 140 characters available, tweets with one photo have 117 characters available, tweets with two, three or four photos have 117 characters available. Twitter does do some awkward auto-cropping to show a snippet of each of your photos in the newsfeed but this is a small cost when weighed against the richness you can create with four images instead of one.

Pro tip: If you do venture into multi-photo posts, leave the fancy designed pictures with words on them at home.  Save those for when you just do one photo, and refer to a template (such as the one from Simply Measured below) that will ensure your words won’t get clipped off by Twitter in the newsfeed.

How to quietly CC people without using up characters

Twitter has also added the ability to tag up to 8 other accounts in your attached photos.  Whether you just want to tag a friend into a conversation, or you want to bring a tweet to the attention of a corporate partner so that they can retweet it, it’s just classier and more efficient to do it with a photo tag than to add “cc @mybestfriend” at the end of your tweet. Did I mention that whether you tag no one in your photos, or you tag the maximum of 8 accounts, no characters are required. You still get the full 117 that remain after attaching your photo(s).

I’m sure there will be the usual outcry that follows any major change to a social network, but on behalf of a corporate tweeter, I’d like to extend a big thank you to Twitter for several significant improvements that are going to help me serve my brand better going forward.


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