Can You Imagine Twitter Without The Ego-Altering Avatars?

Twitter is just too showy sometimes, isn’t it? With celebrities and Twitterati and Klout scores and all kinds of visual queues signaling where one stands in the Twitterverse.

Imagine you couldn’t see any of that (not the backgrounds or the bios or anything) and all you could see were the tweets. Sound interesting? It’s actually kind of cool, once you get past the disconcerting uncertainty that is Uncertain Rainbow.

Webmonkey ponders: “What’s social media without names?”

Turns out, if you strip away the names and replace them with just colors, for example, you end up with a kind of pure egoless information that is, in many ways, more engaging than the original.

Uncertain Rainbow is a project from developer Chris McDowall that reformats your Twitter timeline, replacing everyone’s name and avatar with simple blocks of color. The result is still Twitter, but without any egos.

And here’s how it looks:


Who created it? Chris McDowall (@fogonwater) who is a self-described “cartographer, data enthusiast, illusionist, tea drinker, dog walker” and Wellington, New Zealand.


According to his blog post, “connected life is kind of bullshit.”

Say what?

Social media apps constantly pressure us to perform. We yearn for the prized stream of ‘likes‘, the clutch of ‘favourites‘, the elusive mass ‘retweet‘. It’s ridiculous.

Imagine Twitter without user names or profiles. Instead, each user has their own unique colour. You can see all of that colour’s messages, follow and respond to the ones that strike you. But you can never discover who is behind that colour. You might be conversing with … anyone. A pure relationship of thought and humour (or whatever it is you look for in these exchanges). No pressure to duty-follow, or send a lame reply in response to a slightly-too-much @message.

Well! Whether or not you agree that Twitter is all “image management and silly pretences and tiresome social jockeying,” you have to appreciate his “humble attempt” to boil it down to “just colours, words and uncertainty.”

Would viewing Twitter this way change the experience for you – and is that a good thing? Tell us about it.

(Rainbow image from Shutterstock)

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