A Verified Mess

Although my monthly challenge forbids me from checking Twitter, my reading stream and other social media is full of Twitter news. I honestly couldn’t care less what the business does, and what Elmo turns his attention on to monetise its user base, but most of the chatter seems to be about blue check marks and paying for subscriptions. Weirdly, I’ve been thinking about this for years and have a few thoughts.

The main issue is my confusion around what Verified means on Twitter. The word just seems wrong in the context that Twitter puts on it. Never fitting in to any mental model I can come up with. The way in which it is portrayed certainly needs refreshing if not removing, but the blue check already carries its own weight after years of use.

Verified should mean ‘this person is who they say they are’. In so far as Twitter have carried out some checks, perhaps uploading an ID and placing some code in your website, and as far as they can tell, this person is real. The user is then verified, but it shouldn’t have the importance that Twitter places on it currently.

To Twitter, Verified means that this person is who they say they are, but they represent the way Twitter wants to portray its service. In as much as, if you don’t conform and break some unwritten rules, the first strike for Twitter is often to remove the user’s Verified badge. A weird way to work when you can call the service anything you like, yet chose your marker as ‘Verified’.

How I Would Fix Verified

For years, I have wanted a Twitter pro that is worth paying for. Solving the platform’s biggest problem and also gaining some income. Whilst I understand that the way Twitter works, fast-paced and with a massive reach, is its USP. Most of the issues users face is due to bots and anonymous users.

I feel users should be able to prove who they say they are and get a blue check mark. You shouldn’t be forced to use your name or other downfalls of similar ideas, but Twitter should be able to tell who you are and therefore be answerable for your conduct. As a perk, users can decide to only interact with others that are verified and have robust filtering in place to only see those users. If Twitter wants you to pay, fine, that’s their call, but users need useful features in exchange for money.

Twitter could then extend this towards other markers for people that represent whatever it is that they mark people as Verified currently. Perhaps a gold checkmark, or a deferent thing all together. This still may not resolve the issues currently plaguing it, nor pull me back, but it would perhaps go some way to addressing the current issues.

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