I was hanging out on Twitter the other day, and I decided I really love my background. (It’s the same background as this blog). But almost at the same time I realized that I am following 160 people and have no idea what any of their backgrounds are.
It’s not often I travel to someone else’s home page to see their feed, meaning that I don’t see their backgrounds very often. There’s a very good chance that the only time I’ve even seen some of their backgrounds is when I was deciding whether or not to follow them (and maybe not even then). So how important are backgrounds? Well, if nobody ever sees them, maybe they’re not important at all. Maybe they’re just for us.
But at the same time, I know that I have made decisions to follow people totally based on their backgrounds. Well, maybe not totally, but it’s factored in. For me, Twitter backgrounds are another piece of information to gauge how well this person knows and uses Twitter. If I see someone with the starter background, maybe they’re not dedicated, or they don’t know it well enough to change it. If I see a rude or distasteful background, maybe that’s the type of information that they’ll be tweeting, and I don’t want that either. Heck, if the background is super bright and hurts my eyes that may turn me away.
You see, backgrounds are not something that we ignore. It’s visual information that we still take in. And while it may not say something in the way words in a description do, backgrounds are just a different form of information. We still learn things from pictures, and what you choose to make your background says something about you. How much do we judge each other based on visual information? What about pictures we post on Facebook, or things we re-blog on tumblr, or clothes we wear in MMOs? I have no idea, because I had never even thought about it until I realized I was doing it in my own Twitter habits.
Of course, if I follow you and you change your background, there’s a good chance I won’t even notice. So the conclusion? I’m judging you by your background. But after I follow you, it probably doesn’t matter.
Check out some of the backgrounds of people I’m following on Twitter. What do you think?