How to provide credit for your Twitter avatar

Photo without attribution So you’ve found an image you want to use as a Twitter avatar, and good news, it’s Creative Commons licensed so the owner is clearly happy for you to use it!

But how do you provide credit for a Twitter avatar?

You could send out a tweet publicly thanking the designer or photographer, or add the information into your bio, or even contact the creator to ask for permission to use the image without providing a credit — but for various reasons none of these solutions are ideal.

Some creators may feel differently, but I think that a credit on the image itself is fine — and certainly an improvement over no credit at all. The good thing about Twitter avatars is they are always displayed as little squares, but Twitter don’t crop the original image so you can always click through to see the full picture. Let’s use this image of mine as an example.

Photo showing cropped areas

This shows how Twitter will crop the rectangular photograph. Anything that is outside of this crop won’t display to your followers, unless they click through for a closer look. So you can use that space to write in a credit:

Photo now with attribution

If your image is already square, then you can still expand the canvas of your image to make room for a credit, by increasing the width or height symmetrically.

To me, that seems sufficient. A better solution would be for Twitter to provide a credit field in the settings specifically for this kind of problem, but I recognise that even if they added such a feature, most people wouldn’t bother to use it. The real problem isn’t the lack of a mechanism to provide credit, it’s an education problem.