I am Billy Madison, high school graduate by the back-room dealings of my father.
That’s sort of how I felt – after an initial jolt of self-absorbed glee – about getting verified by Twitter on Monday.
That’s right – there’s a little checkmark to the right of my name on my profile. A quick search of the UltraNets shows that the social media site has 645.75 million users and roughly 54,000 are verified. If that doesn’t convey a level of pretend importance nothing does.
Originally, verification was a way for Twitter to confirm to the world that legitimately famous people indeed were using the accounts bearing their names. Being verified meant that you were a big deal, although in hindsight the Justin Timberlakes of the world probably didn’t need digital checkmarks to confirm their cultural importance.
No, that sort of thing would be much more meaningful to the egos of, say, sports reporters in mid-size markets. So Twitter has started sharing the love, verifying more media types – not as a way to make them seem famous, but to authenticate them as sources of legitimate information. In my case, I was vetted by the parent company of my employer.
At the very least, it’s a nice gesture. I told my wife about it right away and posted a pic of my checkmark on Instagram. Because I’m vain like that. All joking aside, I do appreciate being vouched for in an era of misinformation; there’s genuine value in that.
In short order, I got a follow from rap act Soulcrate. (Related note: There’s no better soundtrack for Saturday morning workouts; try it.) But mentions and follows went back to normal from there even though I found myself checking in almost compulsively.
Although by no means am I going to chuck the checkmark, I think it would have been more meaningful to gain the distinction on my own, to slowly win over the Twitter jury (or not) through my natural use of the platform – sending links to work stories, cracking wise, opining on food and television or wallowing about my family’s never-ending health issues. Eventually, they would have been dazzled. Oh, yes, they would have been dazzled.
I don’t have a man card let alone a Visa Black Card. I’ll never drive a Mercedes unless it’s in van form, at least 15 years old and has been involved in several fender benders. I used to receive mailings about inclusion in the Who’s Who of American High School Students except that was probably a scam. Twitter verification was my best shot at attaining real (digital) social status.
Now the moment has arrived if under different circumstances. I feel like I better get busy solving global warming – or at least figuring out how to bring sexy back – in order to justify the distinction.