On Being Verified

Interesting how a tiny blue check mark can make people take you more seriously.

I'm Verfied
That tiny blue checkmark means I’m really who I say I am. (The helicopter is an emoji and appears in red everywhere except my profile page when I’m logged in on my Mac. Go figure, huh?)

About a month ago, I requested that my Twitter account be “verified.” It was the second time I’d made the request — the first time was at least five years ago, not long after verification began — and although I’d been turned down the first time, I was verified the second. I got the coveted blue checkmark beside my name.

The skinny on verification

Verified Twitter accounts are those accounts that Twitter has verified as belonging to the person whose name appears on the account. This is so that people looking for the real account in question know they’ve found it.

To get verified status, you need to be somewhat “famous” or at least publicly known for something. I’m known for a few things: I wrote computer how-to books for more than 20 years, I’ve owned a helicopter charter business for more than 15 years, I’ve been blogging for more than 13 years, I’ve been recording video training courses for more than 10 years (including several about Twitter), and I currently write articles for a variety of aviation publications. When I filled in the forms online and submitted the documents to prove that I really was who I said I was and that I was worthy of verification, the folks at Twitter apparently agreed. Without any fanfare, the blue checkmark appeared on my Profile page.

I actually noticed a side effect to verification before I noticed the checkmark: literally overnight, I gained about 100 followers. That was weird.

The benefits of the blue checkmark

Being verified gives you some additional benefits the average Twitter user just doesn’t have.

Twitter Stats
As amazing as it seems to me, during this particular 24-hour period, my tweets were displayed 123,514 times.

First of all, you get a bit more respect. Is it possible that I’m seeing fewer trolls? It sure seems that way. (Of course, I do block all the trolls I encounter, so I don’t see repeat offenders.)

Next, it gets your tweets more attention. People are more likely to read a tweet when the account it came from is verified. I’m seeing that in my stats. My tweets are getting seen, retweeted, and liked more than ever.

My most popular tweet
This tweet, which I shot out in response to Donald Trump’s whining about protesters (see below for embedded tweet), has become immensely popular.

Of course, I like to think that this particular tweet has become so popular because it’s so witty. Honestly who knows? (And who cares?)

Twitter also gives verified users additional tools for monitoring notifications. An additional tab appears on my notifications page so I can view a list of All, Mentions, and Verified. The Verified option shows me only notifications from other verified accounts. I can imagine this being extremely useful for truly famous people who want to weed out the mere mortals. Personally, I don’t use it much, although a surprising number of other verified users do interact with my tweets. I have to wonder if that’s because I’m verified, too.

Behavioral changes

Has being verified changed the way I use Twitter? Possibly.

First of all, I don’t think I tweet any more or less than I have during the more than nine years I’ve been using Twitter. I currently average 10 to 20 tweets a day, with a total of about 61,600 total tweets since March 2007.

That said, I’m definitely more cognizant that the things I tweet may be seen by far more people. Although I’m usually very careful about what I post online — I’m not an idiot, like a certain small-handed, thin orange skinned president-elect who can’t seem to keep his tweet hole shut, thus exposing his fragile narcissistic ego to the world — I do think twice about how what I tweet might affect my brand.

Yes, I did say “brand.” That’s because being a verified Twitter user helps establish your name (or account name) as a brand. I already had a brand that was relatively strong in the early 2000s. Who knows? It might become strong again. I don’t want to tweet anything that can hurt it.

What do you think?

Does the verified badge on a Twitter account affect the way you follow or interact with that account?

Are you a verified Twitter user? Have you noticed a difference in the way Twitter works for you?

I’m curious. Use the comment link form to share your thoughts about this.

And please — let’s not go off on tangents about the election. Haven’t you had enough of that in the news? I sure have.

4 thoughts on “On Being Verified

  1. Yes. The check mark means everything. If a check mark re-tweets me that’s a good thing. My tweet is going places! I wouldn’t expect any federal job opportunities though. Florida Gov Rick Scott hired a top employee but before he started work, the offer was retracted because it was discovered that the prospective employee had signed a recall petition of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. So I’m sure your name is on a black list somewhere. Trump now knows you (and probably me).

    • Black lists don’t worry me. I can think of at least a few I’m on and they haven’t slowed me down one damn bit.

      Be true to yourself. It’s the ONLY way you can face yourself in the mirror every morning.

  2. Firstly, a confession.
    I just don’t get Twitter. The short and pithy blast is a recipe for aggression and troll attacks, IMHO. If ‘verification’ has reduced that, then I am happy for you. But I have never tweeted because I cannot reduce any of my serious ideas to 140 characters, and the few tweets I see sort of confirm that I am not alone.

    I review on Amazon (UK) under my full real name, as here. (you know it). My serious work (book reviews) is ignored but my superficial ‘shorts’ about films and products of utter irrelevance seem quite popular.
    I suppose that says it all. Keep it simple. The public (on the whole) dislike thinking.
    But if they can shout “F–K that”, they will.

    • Soy of people don’t get Twitter. I see it as a challenge to communicate a fully formed thought in less than 140 characters. I’m assuming my audience has enough brains to fill in the blanks left by necessity. And I seem to do pretty well. It’s also a great way to share links to interesting articles and images. But I especially like the fact that they don’t use algorithms to filter or shuffle what you see in your newsfeed.

      But you’re right: people today have very short attention spans. They want their information quick, preferably in a form the don’t have to read. This is one reason why people who get Twitter and know how to use it embrace it. I can spend 15 minutes with my carefully honed Twitter feed and catch up with what’s going on in the world, with enough links to quality articles to go deeper if I need to.

      The example I presented here just illustrates how a relatively unknown person (me) can spread a message far and wide. But that’s not why I use Twitter. I use it as a pure form of social networking and a means to keep up with what’s important — or at least interesting — to me.

What do you think?