Twitter profiles have looked pretty boring for a long while – but it never really mattered. The short-form social network has always been about those precious 140-characters, and unlike Facebook or MySpace that came before it, customization still plays second fiddle.
That said, the blue bird started rolling out a modern and wide three-column design a few months ago, and is now offering the new look to all users of the service. Here’s how to activate it today, and everything else you need in order to make the best of it.
The New Layout
Below is a screenshot of Twitter’s old two-column layout, which looks pretty old-hat by now.
Below you can see the new three-column layout, with room for a full-width profile header image, larger profile picture and more information on-screen at once.
This is how my profile looked when the new style was applied automatically, taking my existing old header image and profile, and stretching it to fit the new dimensions. Naturally, this isn’t ideal, so we’re probably going to want to replace those images with higher resolution ones.
First up, Twitter now recommends you upload 400 x 400 pixel profile images, which is straight-forward enough. If your image isn’t square, you will be able to scale and crop it to size.
The new dimensions for header image requirements vary a bit depending on what you would like to do. Twitter recommends 1500 x 500 pixels as the ideal size, which will result in a small amount of cropping. Provided your image isn’t too technical (i.e., you’re not trying to market a product or be some sort of social media whiz) then simply logging in, clicking Edit Profile and uploading an image of these dimensions or will allow you to crop and apply it to your profile with minimal stretching.
However, if you’re trying to be clever with your profile header and would like to use text and branding to your advantage, you should download TwelveSkip’s new Twitter profile layout template, which you can see embedded below. The author recommends an image size of 1500 x 421 pixels and has even highlighted the various areas visible on both mobile and desktop versions.
If you’re having trouble finding an image, Twitter has done some of the work for you and offers a gallery of perfectly sized and sharp-looking images (although I’d still recommend you use your own, why not be original?).
While you’re customising, hit Edit Profile and set a primary colour for your homescreen. This colour is the dominant colour that will be displayed on your profile, affecting text and some accenting. New Twitter profiles do away with custom backgrounds, though for the time being you will find the option still present in Settings > Design, though all it affects is your own personal timeline view.
Other New Additions
In addition to what has already been mentioned, Twitter now displays information a little differently on your profile. There is also a little more information about the date you joined, your number of media tweets as well as favourites.
You can now view all of your tweets with or without replies under the Tweets heading. Similarly, all photo and video posts are browsable in a tiled view, which is much better than the old lightbox.
Twitter also allows you to pin one Tweet at the top of your profile for all incoming visitors to see. You can unpin it at any time. You cannot pin retweets (or any updates from users other than yourself). Simply find an update you like, click the ellipsis (…) and choose Pin to your profile page.
Twitter has also started featuring your activity in the feed, much like Facebook or Google+ would. You can now see actions such updates you have favourited or accounts you have recently followed showing up on your profile, and there doesn’t appear to be any way to disable this.
So How Do I Get It?
Next time you access your Twitter profile, Twitter will most likely show you how your new profile will look and ask if you want to activate it.
If not, simply head over to Twitter’s New Profiles signup and click Get It Now from a desktop browser. One quirk I noticed was that using Chrome with two windows pinned to each side of the screen caused Twitter to think I was browsing on a mobile device – so make sure you maximize the window or you might not be able to sign up.
Have you got the new Twitter profile yet? What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!