Why I Decided To Give Up Twitter Verification

By @TheMarkDalton

Twitter verification. Once it was coveted and many of us craved the blue tick on our accounts. Why? Approval, validation, the feeling of being accepted into the group of the Twitter elite. I was verified on Twitter before the application process opened and several times in the past I have spoke about how I feel there is a lack of value to being verified now.

When anyone can apply for Twitter verification, is it worth being a verified account anymore?

Why Twitter verification was introduced

Lets roll back to when verification was introduced. June 2009, Twitter launches a verification programme. The idea was to help high profile users confirm that their accounts were legit. On a social platform where fan accounts and impersonation of celebs is not uncommon, Twitter’s solution was to place a blue tick next to the handle of the account.

That way, when you looked at a profile on Twitter you would know that it is the real deal. You knew you were communicating with an authentic account and it made perfect sense. At the time and for years that followed there was only one way of trying to get that verification mark, you had to follow the @Verified account and simply wait.

Asking for it didn’t help, Twitter decided who needed verification or not. For many years it was by all rights something that was earned, you got it because Twitter selected you to get it and that was really what generated so much appeal and countless articles about getting Twitter verified.

How I got verified on Twitter

I was verified probably around two weeks before the application process was announced. I was writing for Irish Tech News at the time and there was an opportunity to get the blue verification badge I had wanted so many years prior.

Nothing glamorous about the tale here though, we didn’t get verified because we were a big site. Twitter didn’t reach out and offer the opportunity to join the elite verified ranks. Someone on the team knew someone on Twitter who could get it done, that was it.

While Twitter was reserving verification for who they deemed fit at the time, if you knew someone on the inside you could ask them kindly and it would be taken care of. So I said ‘cool’ (or something along those lines) because at the time verification was still seen as exclusive in a way.

Because it was considered to be exclusive I thought that it may come in handy dealing with new business or writing blog posts. Two weeks later (give or take) and the verification application process is announced.

Verified accounts for everyone!

Okay maybe not for everyone, but verification was opened for applications this time last year. Users could go to Twitter, fill out a form and request verification if they had a verified email and phone number on the account. In defining who gets approved, Twitter stated that : “an account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest.”

I’m not going to explain how to fill out the form or give out tips, there are countless articles on that topic – google it. Why Twitter decided this would be a good move I don’t know but the value of having a blue tick tumbled for those of us who understood what verification once stood for.

No value in being verified

Simply put, the value of being verified on Twitter is gone, what little value it had anyway. Just look at your feed now, or even when you search for someone. There are blue ticks all over the place. If your confidence comes from being verified on a social media website or if you feel you have made it and won Twitter’s approval with a verified badge…well shit, good for you but it makes zero sense.

The value and the confidence I have is in my content. Content is king, content is what sells, content is what gets you there. There was once value to being verified on Twitter before the applications were opened. It was seen as an exclusive group and so you stood out on the social media platform, now we have gone the other way and you are lost in a sea of verified badges.

I eventually decided to let go

I have know for a long time how to get rid of the verification tick, change your handle and it vanishes. I liked my handle though, I liked @TheMarkDalton and for a long time I wanted to keep that handle. Of course then I realised that I could change the handle which would ditch the badge and then quickly reinstate the old handle minus the badge (this does work if anyone is wondering). I decided I had enough, nothing really changes when you are verified on Twitter. It is all the same thing really apart from the fact that you get weird shit like people sending you messages congratulating you for being verified (what the fuck?) and asking if you have any tips to help them get verified (no).

I have even had people message me and ask if I would fill out the verification form for them. Given how I have spoken about the lack of value now around Twitter verification in the past, it made sense to back my mouth up and change my handle which would rid me of the verification badge.

The way I look at it now has been flipped 180. It was once almost like a seal of cool on Twitter, you got that badge and you felt cool in a geeky way which was nice. Now it feels like the opposite of cool because so many people are applying it and badges seem to be getting slapped around accounts everywhere.

The reality is I have no need for verification, like I said my confidence is in my content. There isn’t loads of people running around Twitter impersonating me and my account is not at the celeb like status that verification was initially intended for.

So last week I jumped into settings, changed my Twitter handle and instantly it was gone. What Twitter has essentially done is removed the importance and value in verification and simply created a digital vanity metric and little more than that. There is a small group of people I think should have verification on Twitter.

Who should be verified?

Celebs, politicians, big big name brands and influencers, journalists in mainstream media. The people who verification was initially intended for.

Verified accounts…make a change or not?

I know there are people who feel the opposite to how I do, I know people who were verified the same time as me and not long after me who covet their blue tick and who feel it validates their presence on the platform. If that is how you feel then rock it!

For me, it all felt incredibly fake over the past number of months. I feel more free, being verified also draws attention on to your account which could be good for some but maybe not so much for me as I like to say what I want to say and not hold much back. Not being verified keeps you under the radar a little bit.

It is up to you, I’m telling you how I feel about verification and why I dumped it but I’m not going to tell you what you should do. I feel more free though, somewhat liberated which is not something I was expecting.

If you are thinking of taking the same step but are nervous of life after verification let me reassure you, it is no different. For me it has been a lot better and remember, it is a digital vanity metric and little more than that.