It’s incredible to see the effect of the various recent changes on how the “blue checkmarks” are given out, and what they seemingly represent to different demographics of people.
Before the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk, my rough idea of a blue checkmark was an indicator to say that an account was who it said they were. Although typically only popular accounts and pop culture celebrities were the main beneficiaries of this option. I’d argue that this is probably how most people felt.
I’d also argue that the blue checkmark was something that people would have liked to have on their accounts. Because it seemed to be given to a limited group of people, there was a kind of status associated with it. Now, it seems to represent all sorts of things to people.
Essentially down to two changes - firstly that it (mostly1) isn’t given out based on status or popularity, and secondly that you have to pay for it, as it now comes as part of a Twitter Blue subscription.
There are certainly other parts of the Twitter Blue deal, and I’m personally trying them out myself2. But for most people, it seems as if the view is that all you’re really paying for is the checkmark. Which I guess is probably true for some people. And to others, it’s not as important.
Based on my earlier view on what the checkmark meant, before it was freely3 available, I think it’s good that people can verify themselves4. But there certainly seems to be an issue with the perceived status of having the checkmark.
What I personally find odd, is how celebrities are using the “well I’m not paying for my checkmark” angle to somehow virtue signal. Although I would estimate that some of that is probably a masked dig at Elon Musk, rather than the specifics of having a verified account or not.
I can’t say I really care what the checkmark means. But this whole situation has seemed to have spawned a bunch of little internet tribes, and it’s a bit boring, to be honest.
I briefly saw some of the #BlockTheBlue nonsense the other day on Twitter, and for a while, people on Mastodon couldn’t seem to utter the T-word. It all seems a bit childish to me5.
Right now, I guess, we all just have to adjust to what the blue checkmark now represents. And typically, it’s that a user has subscribed to Twitter Blue, and has at the very least, verified their phone number.
When you think about it, isn’t it odd that only a certain group of people were able to get verified accounts anyway?
There seem to be cases at the moment where either Elon himself or Twitter is activating Twitter Blue (or maybe just the checkmark) for some accounts. I guess to some this may be funny, I just find it a tad weird, to be honest. ↩︎
I’ll probably write about this soon, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference at the moment in how I used Twitter before and after I signed up for Twitter Blue. ↩︎
You know what I mean. ↩︎
Even if it just means associating a phone number with an account, and having it go through some kind of validation on their end. ↩︎
From all sides. ↩︎