Have you thought about changing your Twitter avatar? Are you scared to? Do you think it’s important to always keep the same one?

@djwaldow brought this up today, which prompted an interesting discussion. One that I was particularly interested in, since I was forced to change my Twitter avatar while attending SXSW! (Ok, maybe forced is a strong word–the story is my Twitter avatar was blond, and I dyed my hair a dark brown a couple months ago, it seems whenever I meet Twitter friends they are shocked to learn I’m not blond! I caved under pressure and snapped a new photo)

So the issue is how often should you change you Twitter avatar? Aside from my little mishap, my opinion is barely ever… and with good reason. I think you Twitter avatar should match your Facebook profile pic, your LinkedIn pic, as well as MySpace, Ning and any other online profiles you maintain. Specifically if you are trying to develop your personal brand, it won’t do you any good if people don’t recognize you from one site to another! And it takes quite some time to go through all to update your avatar. On the other hand, if you’re already pretty Internet famous you probably don’t need to worry too much.

The good news is, according to dj’s poll, it looks like others agree:

How often should you change your avatar?
How often should you change your avatar?

What do you think? How often do you change your pic? And is a hair colour/cut a viable reason to change your avatar? (Seriously!! People were making fun of me!!)

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9 thoughts to “Should you change your Twitter avatar?

  • Parker

    I think you should always change up your profile photos, especially now that you’ve probably been on various networks for a while. If you’re photo is a year or two old, change it up. You don’t have to have a new one every week or every month, but keep it fresh.

  • Kyle Roussel

    In principal I agree. You should not make a habit of changing your avatar too often. It’s important to establishing your personal brand. Chris Brogan can get away with it. Everyone and their dog knows him. He’s one of the few that can get away with it.

    That said, I think an update should be required at some point. For example, my avatar is 4 and a half years old. Everyone, including myself changes in 4.5 years.

    In the end, I think you should be steady with your avatar, but not to the detriment of reality. I’d say once every 12-24 months should do, unless you somehow stop aging, or gain/lose a ton of weight.

  • Natasha D'Souza

    It comes down to what are you using these social tools for? If they are used for corporate branding then they should stay within the guidelines of the logo etc.

    If these tools are used from a personal perspective then you have to decide where you are on the totem pole. Yes everyone knows Chris Brogan so he can change it as often as he wishes.

    On the other hand if you are using these tools from a personal perspective to connect with friends then it’s ok to change your picture as that’s what makes it interesting.

  • DJ Waldow

    @krusk – First off, thanks for posting this on your blog (I love twitter). I think the topic is very interesting and certainly relevant as everyone is struggling to figure out twitter and other SM tools. In my opinion, the avatar is critical to SM as it is a huge component of your persona. It was funny to see that 2 of the first 3 comments on this post were people who didn’t have a (gravatar?) set up.

    I like Kyle’s comments above about changing every 12-24 months. It reminds me of refreshing your website, blog, corporate collateral, etc…every year or so.

    Also – I agree that your avatar should be consistent across all platforms. Mine is with the exception of LinkedIn. I intentionally chose a bit more of a professional picture for LinkedIn vs. my Gravatar and Twitter/Facebook avatar.

    Thanks again for the post. Eagerly awaiting more comments. Can I subscribe to receive an email when new comments are posted?


  • Becky P.

    I think it should rarely be changed – maybe 1x per year. The first thing people see is the photo on most social sites. It’s what I use to immediately identify who the communication comes from. It throws me off when people change it. However, I do think that people change and you want to look like your photo – especially if you are meeting people offline.

  • Adam Covati

    I think once a year or so is good, but as others have said, it’s your brand, you can’t just change it all the time.

    What if pepsi changed it’s logo every month, would you even be able to spot the can at a distance? Probably not.

    The same goes for twitter, I go actually scan my tweets by avatar, not name. If you change yours too often I won’t recognize you, and won’t read your tweets.

  • Kelly Rusk

    dj- the photos aren’t gravatars, I have no idea where they come from, which is why I don’t have one. haha

    So I sort of agree with everyone, but what about big changes–i.e. I let my icon for 4 months after dying my hair dark (and I’ve only changed it on Twitter so far)

    Before I went blonde I used to change my hair colour frequently-what if I start that again? Should I change my photo every time?

  • Elisabeth Villarroel

    A few times a year seems acceptable for a personal twitterer – enough to give your followers a greater glimpse into your personality but not so much as to confuse and be unrecognizable for people who scan by avatar.
    For a company brand, I would stay static with a recognizable logo/image, maybe updating yearly or as the brand changes.

    Of course, this is coming from someone who has a south park avatar…

  • Brent Haeseker

    I always dislike it when people I follow on Twitter change their profile pics as I tend to identify people on Twitter more for their pic than their name. But I agree photos should be updated when appropriate. Photos should be the same across platforms.


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