One of the less talked about functions of Twitter is its customization. To be more exact, Twitter users have the ability to set their own background images, meaning that they will be able to stand out from other uses. In fact, many can make the argument that this is one of the advantages that Twitter has over Facebook. Simply put, they can modify the cosmetics of their pages to suit their liking.
This was, however, until just recently. It was this past Monday that Twitter quietly removed the ability for users to set their own background images, as they browse the site in its entirety. Basically, you will not be able to see a background image on someone’s page if you are simply browsing the larger Twitter platform. Instead, you will have to click on an individual tweet to see it. While it’s fortunate that this feature isn’t entirely gone, the fact that it has been scaled back to such a degree has drawn the concern of the larger Twitter audience.
Fortunately, a Twitter spokesperson addressed the matter. The company said that they would be removing the aforementioned images, “… from the home and notifications timelines on web for all users,” meaning that it wasn’t a glitch like some feared. However, Twitter did not give a specific reason as to why this was done. Users have speculated that this is part of a greater advertising campaign, as unique background images might have interfered.
Personally, I do not agree with the change, whether it was done for advertising purposes or not. Even though advertising is an important endeavor, as any online marketing firm can attest to, it shouldn’t come at the expense of one’s user experience. Who’s to say that we won’t browse Twitter with several ads popping up left and right one day? The idea of navigating such a platform is concerning, to put it mildly, and it runs the risk of drawing the ire of Twitter’s massive audience as well.
What if this wasn’t done for the sake of advertising? If this was a change that Twitter simply wanted to make, with no long-term goal in mind, it would be more baffling than infuriating. Why take away a feature that so many users have taken advantage of, only to remove it with seemingly no purpose in place? Twitter has been relatively quiet about said purpose, and I can only hope that more news will surface in the weeks to come.
How do you feel about this change? Do you think that this larger removal of Twitter background images was done for advertising reasons, the creation of a more consistent aesthetic, or something else entirely? Please leave any thoughts in the comments below!