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Those Finicky Twitter Backgrounds

March 19, 2012

Most authors maintain a Twitter account. It is a great way to get the word about your book, sales and just general comments about your favorite work. One thing that I’ve found frustrating since starting my Twitter account is getting the background right.

Manage the background from the settings and design options. There are a number of options that the user can choose that Twitter offers, but if you wish an image of your own choosing, then things get tricky.

I finally found a solution that works for me. The solution may not be elegant, but did work nicely. The Twitter page is laid out so that the main information stream is in the center of the page and the right and left borders are filled with your image, or photo. The trick is to get the parts of your photo to show so that it is not covered by the Twitter main stream in the middle. My page is laid out so I have a photo of my book’s cover on the left, in the upper corner and a hiker over on the far right. See the page here:!/k1ypp

Initially, when I first uploaded the photo, it didn’t go all the way across the page and the hiker wasn’t showing at all. The book cover was too small.

I then imported the photo into a free photo editor tool that I like to use, Photoscape, and re-sized it to about 1800 x 1350 pixels. Anything in this size class is fine. Next, and this is where the photo tool is so important, I saved the image, with a new filename (so I can find it later to upload to Twitter). When saving the file, most photo tools will offer to save the file with varying degrees of “Quality.” Unless the image was greatly blown-up to begin with, it will have plenty of quality and you can save it with reduced quality and the Twitter page will still look fine.

I believe I saved mine with about 70% quality and the result looks fine. The trick with the quality is save it with as much quality as possible, and yet keep the file size to under 800 kilobytes (kb). Why 800 kb? That is the largest size Twitter allows on the image. My current Twitter image is about 750 kb.

The other alternative is to use a small photo and have it repeat over-and-over again, which is known as “tiling.” This is certainly an easier solution, but can have some interesting effects with some photos. It might be a “bee’s” eye view, if the photo is too small. Play with the settings for your optimum results.


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