Blue Checkmark Blues – Twitter’s Subscription Over Status Scuffle

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Is Twitter a hot mess or am I missing something?

On 4/20 (Elon Musk can be so witty), the process begun at Twitter to remove legacy blue checkmarks (which have always been a sign of status on the social media platform).
Twitter introduced a service called Twitter Blue (a paid subscription model).
Payment gets you features like the ability to edit your tweets, less ads, create longer Tweets (10,000 characters), text formatting (bold and italics) for tweets, longer video creation, SMS two-factor authentication… oh, and a blue checkmark.
So, a potentially smart move for the bluecheck from status to verification (we now know a human from a bot, and can hold individuals accountable for their tweets).

Well, my blue checkmark is gone.

I’m ok with that.
I’m not overly active on Twitter and want to see more features for value before subscribing.
Many others lost their blue checkmarks as well.

And… it got weird.

LeBron James, William Shatner, and Stephen King never paid for their profiles, and it turned out that Musk said that he “paid” for them.
Many celebrities who didn’t subscribe suddenly found their blue checkmark re-instated.
Then rumors that many users with over one million followers were suddenly gifted back their blue checkmarks (which, runs counter to Musk’s desire for everyone on the platform to be treated equally, as he tweeted: “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people!”).
Then, a minor movement to block anyone who has a checkmark emerged with the hastag #BlockTheBlue.
Lots of impersonations and posturing (people claiming that Twitter “gifted” the service to them, many pleading that they didn’t subscribe and should have their blue checkmark removed again).
We had people who had the legacy checkmark that never lost it (or claim that they didn’t).
Some got it back (claiming they petitioned Twitter for it).
Some paying for Twitter Blue, but not getting their blue checkmark.
This is frustrating those who lost it.
This is frustrating those who paid for it.
Some people who are no longer alive (Anthony Bourdain, Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman), also, suddenly had their checkmark back.
Some are saying that this could be a legal issue for Twitter, as the company has implied that celebrities are paying for an account they are not, which could be construed as a falsely claimed endorsement.

Should everyone stop complaining and just pay, because Twitter has value?

Should creators with millions of followers on Twitter pay to access that audience (shouldn’t Twitter be paying them, because of the attention and ad revenue they generate for Twitter)?
It’s seems like one big, confusing mess.
Then again, this is a private company… and it can do as it likes?

The easy fix?

The blue checkmark is a legacy sign of status (so, keep it or remove it).
Add in a new icon for those who have subscribed to Twitter Blue (or not… it’s not like other paid platforms identify paying vs. non-paying customers).

And, as always, remember:

Whether you pay for Twitter Blue or not, you can still tweet, following interesting people/organizations, and take part in the greater functions of the platform.
Paying for Twitter Blue just gives you more tools (for now… access to any audience might change in the near-term).

Happy tweeting?

This is what Heather Backman and I discussed over on 95.9 Star FM for a couple of minutes today.

What is Tech Tuesday?

Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM and Jack 103) on the air at 95.9 Star FM to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture.
We call it Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).

Once the segment goes live on 95.9 Star FM, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage.

Before you go… ThinkersOne is a new way for organizations to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership video content (live and recorded) from the best Thinkers in the world. If you’re looking to add excitement and big smarts to your meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, check it out.