Here is an example of our current Twitter header image, compared to the image we actually uploaded:
See how much brighter the image uploaded is than what Twitter displays? In fact, it’s strategically brightened to make the most of what Twitter does to the image.
Twitter darkens the lower portion of bright images uploaded to make the white text stand out. So you don’t want to brighten the center, lower portion of images. In fact, we darkened the middle, and lightened the lower corners (as well as brightening overall).
Of course, different types of images can withstand different treatments. Our goal was to make the image look as much like the original as possible, while allowing for darkening to make the white text stand out.
Here’s a comparison between our original image (bottom), and how it looked after we adjusted it (top) before uploading:
See how much we brightened the lower corners, but actually darkened the center slightly? (I also darkened the center part of my shirt, but failed to save the “before” look). That helped the center white text stand out, but kept the image more normal looking after Twitter darkened the whole lower half. Without the corner brightening, the image looks odd after Twitter darkens everything in the lower half.
However, darkening and lightening should be relatively subtle, or the image will start to appear a bit strange. Experiment to find the right balance.
How To Test Changes Privately
While I went ahead and changed the actual image on our account several times, what many accounts do is create a new Twitter account to test their image on, and then just delete the account, or use it for some other purpose when you’re done testing your header image uploads.
Just make sure to create only one account, as Twitter doesn’t like to see too many accounts created from the same IP address in a short period of time. (If you do need to create multiple accounts, use this tip.)
Problems to Watch Out For
Currently, images display differently on mobile devices than on Twitter.com, so if you want to integrate your avatar, for example, it won’t look like it fits on some mobile devices. Also, if you’re not familiar with image editors, be careful when darkening or brightening that you don’t create white areas (blow out highlights) or lose details in shadows to solid black.
Click to enlarge:
If you create multiple Twitter accounts quickly, Twitter will suspend them all.
Complaining to Twitter that you meant no harm won’t help. Twitter has even acknowledged to users in the past after suspending accounts that the accounts were otherwise fine, but would not be unsuspended.
Twitter is fine with you having multiple accounts. But, they clearly state
How many is too many to create all at once? Twitter won’t say. But I’ve seen as few as 6 suspended. I would recommend not exceeding 2 or 3 unless you use the trick mentioned below.
Of course, in practice, you can create as many as you like if you spread out the time it takes to create them, and they aren’t used in ways that gets them suspended.
When You Have To Hide What You’re Doing From Twitter
There are many good, valid reasons to create multiple accounts. Frequently, the organizer of a class or conference does it to provide attendees a social media channel to use at the event. Another common reason is to set up multiple information channels around a topic. And accounts created for nefarious purposes (such as sending spam) will likely be suspended once they start tweeting. So this trick is only for accounts set up for valid purposes! If you’re unclear on the difference, read Twitter’s rules carefully.
The trick to creating several accounts all at once is to pay for a web proxy service to hide your IP address.
You’ll typically need to disconnect and reconnect between setting up each account so each will have been created from a different IP address. This is the main point: each account needs to be created from a different IP address.
But, take care! Some more disreputable proxy services may have the IPs they use added to “banned” lists, and it won’t do you any good. That’s why I generally recommend using a well-known paid service such as this one. Also, if you make an error, or the service has an error, you may have to redo some accounts. So the final step is to check the accounts regularly.
Alternatives And Additional Tricks
Yes, you could use a bunch of friends, or computers at different locations, or other tricks to achieve the same purpose. But for the average user, using a web proxy is the simplest solution. Using a mobile device to register accounts won’t work. (The last person I know who tried using a mobile device had all the accounts they created suspended.)
And once they are created, to make them even less likely to be suspended, tweet something to each of them from any well-established account, and login to a few each day and reply to that established account with different wording. (It can be as simple as “Welcome to Twitter!” and “Thanks!” but remember to vary the wording). Why? Because communication with existing accounts makes Twitter trust new accounts much more.
If the accounts are going to be communicating with one another, make sure you take the time to have them follow one another. This is important! Otherwise it will look to Twitter like the initial tweets are “unsolicited” and could get the account close to being marked for spam and suspended. Put them all on a Twitter list to make this easier.
Also, be sure to educate users that will be using the accounts (if this is your use scenario) on a few Twitter rules as well. Mainly, tell them not to tweet rapidly to a lot of accounts they aren’t following, or aren’t following them, as that looks like spam-type behavior when seen from brand new accounts.
If you do get accounts suspended by creating too many too quickly, realize that Twitter may look at all activity from the IP address you used as suspicious. Which could put any existing Twitter accounts created from that IP address on thin ice. So don’t risk it!