Twitter Bug #23,423: Now When You Click On A Profile Avatar, It Gets Smaller

About a year-and-a-half ago I wrote a post that suggested that when you upload your profile avatar to Twitter it needs to a big image. Not enormous, but a decent size: say, 400×400 pixels.

Why? Because when people visit your profile and click on your avatar, they expect to see something larger appear. That’s the way the internet works – images are scaled down to fit into a given space, but if they’re clickable we expect them to get bigger. While Twitter automatically scales down your avatar to a 48×48 thumbnail for people’s streams, your profile image scales up to 128×128, and when you click on that you instinctively expect it to get even bigger, because there’s been a progression there.

This used to be what happened. But now, all of a sudden, when you click on an on avatar on a typical profile page the image doesn’t get bigger it all. It gets smaller. And it all looks a bit daft.

For example, here’s the profile page of our sister site, Social Times.

The avatar on this profile is 128×128 pixels. If I click on it, Twitter loads up the image all by itself on a page, as it always has. But instead of being the large image I expect, now I get the feed avatar, which is the poxy 48×48 pixels.


Thankfully, this isn’t some insanely pointless decision on Twitter’s part – it’s a bug, confirmed by Twitter product manager Sara Mustin over on Quora. Mustin promises a fix ‘very soon’, but that was over a week ago.

Yes siree! User-generated content on Twitter might well appear in real-time, but bug fixes – and new features, for that matter – make very sparing appearances. But best hush, now, you hear, or you might scare both of ’em off.