Twitter verification still not for the crowd

I'm not bitter or anything, but Twitter has denied my request for verification.

Earlier this month, the service announced that verification—the blue checkmark that shows other users you are who you claim you are, and which unlocks tools for using Twitter productively—would be open to any applicant. Until then, verification seemed exclusive to celebs and internet personalities liable to be impersonated, and to staff at big media organizations. As a result, it inadvertently became a signifier of Twitter's upper class: to gain it was to ascend; to lose it was to suffer public disgrace.

Open verification, though, was widely reported as a shift in Twitter's thinking: now anyone can get verified. The idea goes, then, that verification becomes a way of establishing trust among users rather than an imprimatur of status—not least because being verified makes it easier to ignore those who aren't. As Twitter faces up to the problem of hostile and abusive users, it seemed a timely move.

I'm not a celebrity or a well-known user of Twitter (you can find me at @beschizza), but am active, with 8,000 followers and frequent responses to inquiries and complaints about my work: an archetypal midlist blogger-type Twitter account.

I fulfilled Twitter's eligibility criteria for its new policy—real name, using a photo of self as avatar, scan of government-issued ID uploaded, and so forth—and provided the rationale of making the service more useful to me and the people who need to get hold of me, and the five URLs they wanted to get an idea of your online profile. (As an interesting aside, my handle receives occasional abuse intended for French police union leader and distant cousin Bruno Beschizza.)

Alas, it was not to be…


Brutal. So how does one become eligible?

Despite the media speculation, Twitter does suggest that open verification still requires an element of celebrity: "An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas."

Many people complain that Twitter's policies are vague and inconsistently enforced (which is perhaps why there is so much Twitter Kremlinology in print), but that's pretty fair grounds for noping a guy with only a few thousand followers.

Other things that maybe factored in: I already (with others) am associated with a verified account, @boingboing, with a lot of followers.

Also, I recently deleted a ton of tweets while reviewing tweet-delete services. This might have resulted in some kind of "hrm" flag in their system for someone requesting verification.

Finally, most of my tweets are really dumb. Some haggard staffer at Twitter, verifying 20 accounts a minute for 8 hours a day, might well have landed on my pinned tweet wondering if it is possible to "vape soylent" and justifiably thought screw this guy.

In any case, this shows that (for good or ill) the new verification model is not for anyone willing to meet the bullet-list criteria, as many had reported. You may use a form now to ask for it, but you must first be eligible.