Skip to content

Little Birdie Whispers In My Ear, Inspires New Twitter Profile Header

October 25, 2013

Some of my “friends” tell me it’s only natural that I should tweet, because I’m a little cuckoo. Hmm…

Thanks a lot.

I do have a Twitter account, and I’ve posted a little over 700 tweets to date.

What do I tweet about? Most of my tweets reference illustration, Photoshop resources, marketing, blogging, and social media. I try to post links that potential clients and fellow creatives and bloggers might find useful.

Every Twitter user has a profile with a header. The header includes a photo or logo, your real name, your Twitter name, a short bio (a max of 160 characters), your geographic location, and your website URL.

You can also upload a custom background image (1252 pixels wide by 626 pixels high). Here’s what my old header looked like. You’ll notice it has a serious design flaw: it’s very difficult to read.Old Twitter profile header for Mark Armstrong Illustration, featuring beer glass Olympic rings on bar tribute to 2012 Olympics Games in London

I just read a post about writing an effective Twitter bio. Here are a few excerpts:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Your bio is searchable within the Twittersphere, meaning you need to think carefully about keywords. It will show up in search engine results for your name, so it has to represent the true you. It’s also how you choose to present yourself to Twitter’s 230 million users, so it’s worth giving it some serious thought.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Your Twitter bio should position you as an expert in your field who serves a specific audience… The objective is to position your personal brand so you’re using the right keywords and clearly showing what your focus is so people read it and know exactly what you do and whom you serve.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Carefully consider what topics you’d like to be discoverable under, as you never know who might be searching for just those subjects… you’re telling the world why they should follow you. Why you’re important.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

My original Twitter bio talked about me, rather than what I could do for others. It was 124 characters. It wasn’t particularly inspiring:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Photoshop expert; over 20 yrs. experience; Specialty: Humor. Nothing succeeds like illustration. Humor multiplies its power.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I rewrote it focusing on keywords, and what I do to help people communicate and build goodwill. The new version is exactly 160 characters:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Photoshop Expert; Humor, Illustration & Visual Content That Gets Noticed, Builds Brands, Communicates, Sends The Right Message, & Captures Short Attention SpansBlankVertSpace.8pixels

Here’s what it looks like on Twitter’s default background. A lot easier to read, but that’s a pretty dull backdrop for an artist, despite my pretty face… : )

Twitter profile header for Mark Armstrong Illustration showing blank default grayish background

I was already thinking ahead to a new image when I wrote the bit about illustration capturing short attention spans. Illustration– especially one with just the right amount
of humor– gets your attention.

People click past a solid block of text. They also click past clip art or stock photos, because they know instinctively that they’re looking at filler. But they’ll stop for an amusing custom illustration– and there’s a good chance they’ll stay long enough to read some of the text that goes with it.

I’m working on a slideshow called 13 Reasons To Hire An Illustrator. One of the reasons is this special ability of illustration to grab attention. Here’s that particular slide. illustration of three little people with stopwatch heads, part of 13 Reasons To Hire An Illustrator slideshow, making point that attention spans are short and illustrations grab and retain a person's attention

I decided to use my little stopwatch men to make a new Twitter header image (I cloned the middle guy). The key to making it readable was to add some dark blue gradated color (Twitter header text is only available in “white”).

Here’s my new Twitter header:New Twitter profile header for Mark Armstrong Illustration featuring short attention span stopwatch heads

If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, just click the Follow @mrstrongarm button in either the sidebar or at the end of this post.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

My Twitter account is tied to my Facebook page. You’ll know when I post new work or work in progress to Facebook, because there’s always a corresponding tweet.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

If you’re a Facebook person, you can get Mark Armstrong Illustration updates by Liking my Page. Just click the Like button in the Facebook Like Box in the sidebar.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Are you a Twitter person? If so, what do you tweet about?

How’s your attention span? Did this post hold your attention??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

About Face: Some Thoughts On Redesigning My About Page

2012 Olympic Games Tribute, Or Who’s That Swimming In My Beer?

Create A Facebook Page And Display Your Portfolio As A Slideshow

footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 40 pixels high

34 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2013 1:25 PM

    LUV your twitter header, Mark. Thanks for some great tips on getting the most use out of what we put there — I think I have more work to do! 😉


    • October 31, 2013 1:05 PM

      Thanks so much, Vanessa! I’m a little embarrassed about my original design– it’s pretty hard to read white text against a whitish background. As mentioned, Twitter profile text only comes in “white,” so it’s up to us to accommodate it by providing a dark background.

      I should also have mentioned that Twitter uses a template when it inserts a profile image. So while we can choose the actual words we want to use, the template dictates where each block of text goes (actual name, Twitter name, location, URL). So I can’t move my text any further down, which is a bit frustrating.

      Thanks for that very kind comment and all your support!! : )


  2. October 25, 2013 2:12 PM

    Your twitter profile is perfect, I love it! I am very new and don’t know how to use it, so I will have to read and read again your very informative post and learn! [I don’t take words easily as you may have noticed!] Thank you, my friend for all the advice and for the beauty spread all over your profiles [blog and twitter!]. 🙂


    • October 31, 2013 1:21 PM

      Thank you, my dear Marina! I rarely achieve perfection. I remember the doctor pronounced me perfect the day I was born, but it’s been downhill ever since… : (

      I can assure you your words are always delightful, and don’t be troubled about being new to Twitter. I’m still very new myself, and have much to learn. When I find useful posts about Twitter, I shall tweet them– we shall become Twitter experts together! : )

      Thanks for your lovely comment, it made me flap my wings, chirp for joy, and fall off my perch! : )


  3. October 25, 2013 3:57 PM

    Nicely done! My twitter is a goof off account mostly, originally created to auto-tweet when I publish a blog post.
    I’ve tweaked my bio once since starting, because I thought it was too formal. I’m happy with what I have now.
    My latest tweets have been Dow Equis spoofs – “I don’t often tweet, but when I do…”, a whole bunch of Beats by Dre ripoffs, and my regular #SundayNightCookoff, which is less about cooking and more about getting in trouble.

    The thing I enjoy most about twitter is hanging out with people I would never have met otherwise.


    • October 31, 2013 1:34 PM

      Thankee, sir! A goof-off account– yes, that can be a good thing to have, providing you don’t post pictures of you and your cat binging together. It might hurt your cat’s reputation… : )

      I like your point about getting to hang out with people you wouldn’t otherwise have met. Certainly true for Twitter, and for blogging as well. Social media is opening up the world to some beautiful friendships– including ours!

      Thanks a heap for your cheerful support. : )


  4. October 25, 2013 4:41 PM

    A very inspiring blog post from my favourite ‘cuckoo’ tweeting, photoshop expert illustrator!

    As for my attention span.. I managed to read the whole post in just 3 hours! A record time for me!


    • October 31, 2013 1:41 PM

      My dear Murray! Your comments are outrageous, but then again, that could be said of all your behavior!! But that’s what we all like about you, sir… : )

      You read the post in just 3 hours?? I must say I’m impressed. It took me four hours, and that was after I wrote it!! I guess it’s because I love my stuff, and linger over every word… : P

      Thanks for breezing in and being a delightful young chap! : )


  5. October 25, 2013 6:28 PM

    I like it. 🙂


    • October 31, 2013 1:48 PM

      Ha! That comment was so soft, so sweet, so right. Something similar happens some mornings out at the birdfeeder. A chickadee will light on my shoulder and sing in my ear. Now he might be a Twitter bird, but if so, he’s wearing a brown coat over his blue jumpsuit… : )

      Thanks for that delightful little chirp, you Canadian songbird, you! : )


  6. October 26, 2013 9:25 AM

    The third time’s the charm (with your Twitter header). I do have a short attention span … squirrel … and find that humor and clever illustrations, cartoons or art do pull me in. Great job, Mark.

    My hubby, Dave, twitters – not about me, thank heavens. I don’t. It’s very time consuming. More power to you (and Dave) for your creative uses to engage readers.


    • November 1, 2013 9:25 AM

      You may not tweet, but I still think you’re a tweet person… : )

      Thank you, my dear Judy! I was going to say that I, too, have a short attention span, but perhaps we’re looking at it the wrong way round. We have normal attention spans, but some people aren’t doing enough to engage us!! I really do think that illustrations are one of the simplest, most direct ways to grab attention and build goodwill.

      I don’t tweet a lot. Like all social media, it can eat up all your time. It’s a great way to post and find helpful links, however. And I think creating an attractive profile image is important– good first impressions, and all that.

      Speaking of good impressions, that’s your specialty– thanks for doing it again!!! : )


  7. October 26, 2013 4:13 PM

    Nice header and background on Twitter. I like the colour you chose. 🙂
    I used to tweet a lot, but not anymore. At the moment I only use Twitter to tweet about my blog post.


    • November 1, 2013 9:36 AM

      Many thanks, my dear Inge! Since you’re an ace photographer with keen eye, your thumbs-up means a lot!

      And you’re right: it’s nice that we can link our WordPress and Twitter accounts, and automatically send a tweet whenever we have a new blog post. When I was a kid, people would often preface new information by saying: a little birdie told me such-and-such. Strange to think that nowadays, there’s a little birdie named Twitter that spreads the word about everything!! : )

      Always great to see you, Inge, thanks so much for your support!


  8. October 26, 2013 10:24 PM

    I think you should take advantage of your last name….flexing your arm muscle..for comic animation!

    No I don’t twitter personally. It’s just me.

    I like the stop watch but not 100% how it relates to your branding as a drawing illustrator. Maybe you need a logo of some sort to make that link.


    • November 1, 2013 9:49 AM

      A big arm muscle?? Ha! I dunno, Jean– people might confuse me with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda… : )

      Hmm. I suppose the stopwatches might send a mixed message. I wouldn’t mind if people drew the conclusion that I’m quick with a sketch (which I am), but I’d hate to have them assume I must be a time management consultant!! Perhaps it’s, er, time for me to rethink the matter… : )

      Always a pleasure, Jean, thanks so much for your comment!


      • November 1, 2013 10:13 PM

        Ok sorry about not knowing the baking soda association with my idea. 🙂


        • November 6, 2013 1:03 PM

          Ha! You’ve probably been buying the store brand to save money– like I do. : )


  9. October 27, 2013 4:04 AM

    I tolerate Twitter somewhat more than I do Facebook.

    Incidentally, I created a Twitter account mostly to keep up with certain people, and it has turned out primarily to be Jack Yan– someone who uses both Twitter and Facebook for professional reasons, such as yours.

    I suspect, though, if I ever managed to get well enough to be an employed professional… I would get someone else to manage such accounts. I can’t seem to function on 120 characters (or whatever is the limit length these days), and well, Facebook… ’nuff said.


    • November 1, 2013 9:58 AM

      Thanks, Jak! See, now I would have assumed you’re a natural for Twitter. Why? Well, most people would spell Jack as “Jack.” But you’ve shortened it to “Jak,” which shows a readiness to condense words– an essential Twitter skill!! : )

      OK, I’m kidding. Twitter’s certainly not for everybody, but as you say, it can be a handy way to follow interesting people.

      Just FYI: Twitter allows you a whooping 140 characters– so go ahead and write that novel! Cheers!


      • November 1, 2013 9:31 PM

        140 characters is still hard for me. I know a few people break down a long thought occasionally to 2 tweets, but I’d need more instances than “occasional”. If I had the notion that people would hang on my every word, I’d probably be three-part tweeting all the time.


        • November 6, 2013 1:00 PM

          Long thoughts broken down into two- or three-part tweets… hmm. I asked the birds out at my feeder about this, and they said they’ve been using that technique for years. They were very impressed, however, that an enlightened human like yourself had thought of it, Jak… : )


  10. SingingTuna permalink
    October 28, 2013 5:33 PM

    LOVELOVELOVE your new header!!!! Splendid!! I ditched my Twitter whoosit or I’d go tell you there. Looks like a timely chorus line of stopwatches, with your LUVERLY face in at center stage!

    Oh, phooey. Still can’t “like” your posts.
    Well, I do like it. I really, really do.


    • November 1, 2013 10:08 AM

      My dear Melodious Crooner of the Sea! It’s always a pleasure to hear your swingin’ hep-cat tones, tho I have to strain my ears somewhat due to the incessant ticking of all these infernal stopwatches!! : P

      My watches thank you, my LUVERLY face thanks you, and I thank you… : )

      Your Like is hereby noted and truly appreciated. I wonder why tunas aren’t allowed to click the Like button? Are they afraid you might get saltwater on the keys?? It’s discrimination, I say, and I’m madder’n a wet fish!! Er, I mean hornet… : )

      Thanks as always, dear Robin, for your splendiferous support!! : )


  11. soul . to . earth permalink
    October 30, 2013 3:00 PM

    The stopwatch men rock….the 4th one on the right reminds me of myself. 😀

    [Too bad about Twitter’s limitations and restrictions on design/font colour/text position…’s just cuckoo how they restrict creativity in such ways.]


    • November 1, 2013 1:31 PM

      Thank you, my dear Radhika! The 4th one on the right, you say? Yes, that’s definitely the most stylish one, I’d say… : )

      Yes, Twitter lets you use whatever image you want, and whatever words you want to describe yourself. But when you activate the image, they use a template and slide your photo and all the text blocks into preassigned slots. A shame, because I hate to waste all that dark space at the bottom of the image.

      Is Twitter a cruel dirty bird to impose such limitations, or should I view said limitations as a challenge to my unbounded genius and creativity?? Well, when I put it like that, I guess I’d have to say… both!!

      Thank you for transporting your beautiful soul down to earth to visit my blog and be so wonderfully supportive!!! : )


      • soul . to . earth permalink
        November 4, 2013 10:27 AM

        The hand on hip posture is so ‘me’. Feeling lost in time? Ah, that too!

        Hee, hee…..your replies to everyone’s comments are as good as your posts and sketches. They bring cheer even when I’m not grumpy. Each reply is thoughtful, witty, hilarious….oh no, I just ran out of words.

        Confession: It’s why I comment :O Please keep ’em coming.


        • November 6, 2013 1:49 PM

          The ol’ hand-on-hip, eh? Yes, that sounds absolutely right for you, my dear Radhika! It conveys just the right amount of charm, coyness, spunk, sass, and bring-it-on. John Wayne used it a lot, I believe, and so did Curly of The Three Stooges. Or was it Larry?

          You, grumpy?? Impossible! I can’t accept it. The idea’s patently absurd! Grouchy, maybe– but only before you’ve had your 6th cup of coffee. OK, your 8th cup… : )

          Well, you’re too kind, and I thank you for that lovely comment. I’d say more, but it’s hard to type with my hand on my hip, especially when that’s the hand I’m using… : P


  12. November 1, 2013 11:08 AM

    Love the stopwatch…. but in a different context. Just joined a job after staying at home for five years… now its a sprint from 6 in the morning to 8 at night…. 🙂 this is the Diwali weekend for us and I am using it to visit all my friend’s blogs 🙂


    • November 6, 2013 12:53 PM

      My dear Malvika! How charming to see you, as always. You’re no longer lounging around the house all day, lying on a sofa, eating chocolates?? Well, yes, I suppose one gets tired of it, eventually… : )

      What’s your new job all about? 6 AM to 8 PM?? That’s a pretty long workday! Good thing you have the strength of ten women. Must be from eating all those chocolates… : )

      Hope you had a lovely Diwali, and that you lit a candle for me!!


      • November 7, 2013 8:38 AM

        I always love your replies 🙂 I am now a language editor, editing research papers for international scientific journals 🙂 I get up at 6, move out at 7:30, reach work at 8:30, Work for an excrutiating 8 and a half hours and then am back at home by 6:30-7, cook the food and then collapse on my sofa at around 8 🙂 I feel like superwoman nowadays 🙂


        • November 9, 2013 2:31 PM

          A language editor… you know, I’m not surprised. That sounds like a good match, even if they’re driving you to the point of collapse on your chocolate- and cushion-strewn sofa. I always enjoy your posts. You have an excellent command of the English language. Your prose is organized, highly readable, and always witty and entertaining. No wonder you remind me so much of myself… : )

          Carry on, you superwoman, you!


        • November 9, 2013 9:45 PM



A penny for your thoughts. I'm on a tight budget here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: