How to add a Countdown to your Twitter Profile Photo

How to tie it all together with IFTTT

IFTTT have made it very easy to share their tasks as a “recipe”, so here is the recipe I cooked up for the Twitter avatar countdown:

Click on the link, then click “Use Recipe”. You will be prompted to join IFTTT (or sign in) and then you can see which channels are the “Missing Ingredients”. Assuming you are new to IFTTT, you will be prompted to authorise Google Calendar and Twitter, and then click “Create Task” .

You should then see this in “Your Tasks”:

That’s that then! You might want to check it works by waiting up until midnight on the first night, but I can assure you that (assuming you’ve followed my blog closely) it will work!

One Twitter countdown to the Olympics, no problems!

Added bonus! Schedule tweets using the same concept!

As an added bonus, especially now that CoTweet has bitten the dust, here is a recipe for scheduling tweets using the same concept:

Be aware that IFTTT will run the task within 15 minutes of the calendar start time – so it may not hit the moment exactly – but for most cases that should be fine.

In many ways, this approach is more powerful than CoTweet’s scheduled posts – you can bulk upload them from a CSV file (beat that CoTweet!) and you can turn off all the scheduled tweets by turning the task off (the power button second from the left) – CoTweet only allows you turn them off one at a time.

Why is being able to turn off all your scheduled tweets useful? Imagine you have lined up a load of happy jolly tweets to go out, and then there is a major earthquake somewhere in the world. 90% of twitter are discussing the earthquake, and there are your tweets promoting your product. At best you look naive or out of touch; at worst, heartless, crass and insensitive. When a crisis hits (either globally, or even just your brand or account), being able to cut the scheduled tweets in one single click is a very useful function to have!


I hope you have found this useful. I used it for the CycleSurrey Twitter account that I run for work. If you have used it, drop me a comment and let me know – I’d love to see where it takes you!

7 thoughts on “How to add a Countdown to your Twitter Profile Photo”

  1. Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

    Superb work, we have just followed your excellent guide. Looking forward to midnight for the first update! Thanks

  2. Simon Radford

    Thank you for this – however I don’t know where you and the other satisfied users have been storing your images – EVERY SINGLE site I have tried mangled up the name with a random one – with potentially over a hundred images I was not going to be sorting that out.. I could see that the ifttt end was attempting to work from the google calendar (which I had set at hourly updates) but it couldn’t get any images and so failed. I have spent 9 hours on this and am now giving up. We will be doing it manually and at less than hourly intervals!

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for sharing. Please assist, my images do not display. I get an error message saying image not found though I followed all steps correctly.

    Kind regards.

  4. Hi. I’ve been meaning to write an update to this post for a while – but I need to test something first!

    The updated technique would be to store the base image on Cloudinary.Com (an account is required but for this purpose the account should be free) and then use dynamic image generation to add the countdown to the image.

    I’ve not yet tested this, but there is no reason I can see why it wouldn’t work. Hope this helps.

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