Twitter's default profile photo has received an update. The now-infamous egg has been replaced with a person-shaped icon.

Twitter's Design team is behind the change. The group says there are three reasons for the update:

  1. To encourage self expression.
  2. The egg was too "fun and cute," so a more serious icon should encourage people to change it.
  3. Egg accounts are often associated with harassment, which meant new accounts that had no intention to harass would be unfairly associated with the negative behavior.

If you're curious about the design decisions behind the new avatar, there's a post on Twitter's blog that goes into more detail.

Thoughts on the updated avatar

In terms of encouraging people to update and personalize their accounts, I can see how this change makes since. The egg was a cute idea: Being new to Twitter meant you were a bird who had yet to hatch. But if I had to guess I'd say Twitter's usage statistics show the people who stick around (Twitter has a problem with maintaining active users) are the ones who customize their profiles, follow friends, regularly communicate, etc. The company is trying to get new users more engaged so it can keep them around.

As for combating the "default profile photo = potential harassment" stereotype, this isn't really going to work. Folks will simply associate harassment with the new, vaguely person-shaped icon. And let's not forget Twitter gives us the option to filter out accounts with a default profile photo — the stereotyping is sort of built in on Twitter's end. Which is why I want to point out, again, that some people have legitimate reasons for sticking with the default profile photo:

Lastly, I know folks are upset that Twitter keeps introducing changes that aren't the ones that "everyone" wants. It's important to note there are different teams at the company working on different things all the time. Companies don't typically focus entirely on one change and then move on to the next one. Seems the updated default avatar was ready to ship so they shipped it.

Now let's just hope whatever team works on EDITABLE TWEETS is about ready to ship!

Thoughts?

How do you feel about the new change? Prefer the egg, like the new person-shaped icon, don't care either way? Gimme a shout in the comments or over on Twitter!