Twitter may be expanding the elite “verified account” tag that has denoted as an “influential user.” Such verified user status previously was done on a discretionary basis in the base. Verified users are typically found in areas such as music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, and business. The role Twitter plays in using its verification as a method to crown status has now been opened up — all with a goal to help users find interesting voices. In making the tag more pedestrian, will it also lose its elite status?
Twitter wants to understand a verified account user’s “impact in their field”
Users who meet basic requirements for items such as a verified phone number, confirmed email address, accurate birthday, a web site and use public tweet settings among other requirements can now request that they be verified, Twitter said.
But perhaps more significant than just identity confirmation is the questions the user will be asked. “We want to understand their impact in their field,” a blog post on the Twitter web site describing the system reads. In other words, there will still be Twitter verified accounts based on discretionary judgment. Twitter is making the process more transparent. In fact, rather than making their own assumptions, the new process requires potential verified account holders to explain why they are deserving of verified status.
When citing URLs to support the validation, Twitters recommends that would-be verified account holders “choose sites that help express the account holder’s newsworthiness or relevancy in their field.” What are you saying in public and what is being said about you matter.
How does Twitter currently make relative value decisions
A man arguably in the news for upsetting the status quo during the Greek debt deal, Yanis Varoufakis, is not verified. This is despite his having rather public issues communicating in the past and a history of mistaken identity.
Looking at the strong journalists I follow, I’m amazed that certain mainstream reporters known to have deep connections and determination to get the real story are not verified. Journalist David Dayen, author of the recent book Chain of Title and a well-known financial reform columnist, is currently unverified. In fact, many respected mainstream reporters at institutions such as The New York Times, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal are unverified. How is Twitter making these relative value decisions?
When asked if they would reveal their rough formula determination on how they determine “industry impact,” Twitter did not respond in time for publication.
The big question is, does “impact on industry” relate to upsetting the status quo or does it relate to celebrity?
Twitter wants to help users connect with qualified voices
Twitter is now reported to have verified 187,000 and is lighter by one user. Aggressive conservative activist and tech editor at Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos, was the first to have his verified status pulled and today was banned from the service. Yiannopoulos had been accused of focusing his 388,042 followers to harass other users who don’t share his political beliefs. Recent Tweets appeared to target actor Leslie Jones based on her race, which was reported as “the final straw” for Twitter attempting to crack down on harassment.
In addition to cracking down on those who abuse the system, Twitter is also working to make it easy for users to find interesting voices.
“We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification,” Twitter’s Tina Bhatnagar, vice president for user services, was quoted as saying. “We hope opening up this application process results in more people finding great, high-quality accounts to follow and for these creators and influencers to connect with a broader audience.”
Finding mainstream celebrities that are already easy to find – Kim Kardashian and Oprah, for instance – is not where Twitter appears to be focusing. Ideally they might help users discover a new world that might not already be in the mainstream. Those are sometimes the best discoveries to make.
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