Twitter’s Hatched a New Default Profile Picture

Twitter’s at it again, making more changes in their fight to end internet trolling. This time they’re focusing on patching brand perception, their platform having become known somewhat as a battleground of online harassment. In a recent blog post, Twitter Design revealed that the default egg profile picture is getting the boot.

I covered a portion of Twitter’s efforts to squash harassment on their site in a previous post. This announcement marks a new development in their strategy. According to Twitter’s update, the egg has become associated with accounts created for the purpose of harassment because the owners of these malicious account don’t take the time to personalize, instead leaving the egg by default.

To move away from these negative associations, Twitter has decided to completely rebrand the default profile picture and take a more traditional approach. Their new design replaces the egg with the well-known head-and-shoulders silhouette on a gray background.


The evolution of Twitter’s default profile picture [Image credit: Twitter]

However, as described in their announcement, they worked hard to “bring inclusivity into [their] single default profile photo.” And, according to Twitter, the iconographic profile picture wasn’t neutral enough. They “felt that the circle of the head in the figure still seemed masculine.”

So, after many iterations, the design team finally settled on a brand new, totally customized…blob. Yes, it does resemble a human head and shoulders, but it feels a little too lumpy to appear natural, in my opinion. The new default profile picture definitely does, however, attain the goal of being genderless.


Twitter’s new default profile picture [Image credit: Twitter]

Twitter hopes this change will not only dissociate the negativity from photo-less accounts, but that the new gray, less-than-exciting default picture will invite users to “use this space to show [the Twitter world] who they are” and further “express themselves on Twitter.”

But what do Twitter users actually think of this change? Many people liked the egg photo, so how do they feel about the new default profile picture? To find out, I interviewed Purdue alumna and professional social media consultant Sophie Bounphisai (@SophieOfKors) of So Gold Marketing (@SoGoldMarketing). Hear what she has to say below.

Jake: Do you think Twitter’s recent attempts to squash bullying on their platform are helping?


J: What are your thoughts on the recent announcement that Twitter is changing their default profile picture?


J: They’re ditching the egg for a more ubiquitous generic silhouette. How does this change impact Twitter’s branding?


J: Do you personally like the new design?


J: Do you think the change will help dissociate the platform from trolling?


J: Do you think this particular effort (changing the profile picture) was necessary?


It seems that not everyone is convinced that this new profile picture will assist Twitter in reducing harassment. But, according to Sophie, any progress is forward progress when it comes to the stalling microblogging platform. As Twitter rolls out this change in the coming weeks, we’ll see how users react to the missing egg.


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