Twitter has had a unique stance when it comes to default avatars. Other networks like Facebook use a generic one that features the head and part of the torso of the human being.
However, Twitter has been using several ones, starting with the outline of a man in 2006 (that was terrible) which they replaced a year later with the weird emoticon and replaced it again in 2009 with the old Twitter bird.
From 2010 onwards, we’ve been accustomed to the egg avatar as being the default one and it made sense. Well Twitter decided to change it to a generic avatar this weekend and they justified their decision on a blogpost.
They wanted the default profile [photo to be generic, universal, serious, unbranded, temporary and inclusive. They also wanted it to follow their refreshed brand with a new look that highlighted its diversity.
Twitter also noticed that people were keeping the egg profile photo since they thought it was ‘fun and cute’ and other accounts with egg avatars were being used to harass others. This is true since egg avatars have the notorious reputation of being perennial harassers and this was not fair to those people who are still new to Twitter.
The new default profile photo came from a long line of prototypes where they started from making it grey for it to seem ‘temporary’ and ended up with a ‘genderbalanced’ avatar.
According to Twitter, they hope that the new default photo would encourage people to express themselves, but in reality, it would psychologically push people to upload profile photos for their accounts.
However sadly, Twitter on the other hand has lost its theme where it has always maintained this avian theme of having a Home tab that looks like a bird house, compose button that looks like a feather and an egg default profile photo.