The Twitter photo shake-up has made considerable changes to the way it displays photos but would you notice it? Most users won’t but here’s why you should.
We all look at countless images on social media every single day but few of us probably ever stop to consider how they are being showed to us.

In the company’s recent Engineering blogpost from researchers Lucas Theis and Zehan Wang, it was announced that the Twitter photo shake-up aims to drastically alter how images are displayed to users.

Although it’s no Instagram or Pinterest, pictures are a key part of any Twitter feed and an essential element for engaging users. As such, millions are uploaded to the platform every single day but a lack of uniformity in how images are displayed can mean even the most well-filtered picture can fail to look its best.

This is because Twitter’s timeline automatically crops images to act as a preview, allowing users to then click on it to see it full-size. For many users, this means the images they see can be unclear, ambiguous and even misleading, given the small section that is displayed.

So how does it work?

Facial detection software has played a key part in altering the platform’s algorithms to try and make the previews as relevant as possible but this isn’t always enough. And, of course, this doesn’t really help the large number of photos that don’t contain human faces.

So Twitter is working to judge the ‘saliency’ of an image to try and focus on the most interesting elements of a picture.

“A region having high saliency means that a person is likely to look at it when freely viewing the image.”

Using data from eye-tracking software and user analytics, researchers have developed a way to determine what part of an image most people will focus on, and uses this information to form a preview.

Twitter expects this to increase performance tenfold over the previous model and is now in the process of a full-scale roll out.

For businesses, this Twitter photo shake-up offers the opportunity to make the most of images alongside your tweets. It can be hard standing out from the social media crowd but photos can be an effective way to reflect your personality, brand ethos and target consumers.

If you’re struggling to find where images fit into your social media strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local Social Media Geek.