Being Verified on Twitter Actually Sucks

As someone using the platform with the “benefits” a blue check offers, trust me: Do not pay $8 for this shit.
Katie Way
Brooklyn, US
Twitter verification badge in dumpster

I remember when I was a starry-eyed high school junior who created a Twitter account for the first time. I used the platform to cyberbully my friends, follow Marc Maron and Drake parody accounts, and vaguely fantasize what it would be like to “blow up” online. Integral to that fantasy—that I’d post something so funny that Rihanna would follow me back or some shit—was getting verified on Twitter. In college, I’d joke that my only career goal was to get a Blue Check. Then, a few years later, right after I started at VICE, it happened: I plugged my Twitter handle into a spreadsheet that one of our social media editors passed around. After days of shadowy deliberation, the right color of smoke came out of the chimney, and lo and behold, I was verified. And guess what? It sucks and wasn’t worth the time I spent wanting it—let alone the $8 dollars a month Elon Musk is proposing.


What does Twitter verification actually do? It assures my loyal audience of not that many people that the things I’m posting and messages I’m sending are actually coming from Katie Way and not a sinister imposter. On my end, I have a special tab for notifications from other verified accounts. One time, when I was really desperate, I DMed my electricity company because I was locked out of my account after moving and really needed to pay my power bill—and someone got back to me and helped me reset my password! I’m not sure if that happened because I’m verified, but if it was, it’s the best thing the blue check has ever done for me.

The drawbacks, however, abound. Even though most of my tweets are totally unrelated to anything I get paid to do, every time I post something, I still feel like I'm on the clock, as if the tick mark was a work uniform I can't take off. It’s not the factory floor, but it’s annoying to post about being hungover and have that thought automatically filtered through a business casual lens. Plus, take it from me: It is 100 percent more mortifying to have a flop tweet when you’re verified. Single-digit likes feel different when you are ostensibly a public figure! 

Twitter verification also bestows a kind of negative visibility on the platform. There are obvious requirements for getting verified—it’s just that being cool or important or official has gradually stopped being one of them. It’s mortifying to admit it, but I envisioned the blue check as entrance into an elite club where I’d rub virtual elbows with actual famous people. Instead, it turned my timeline into fucking LinkedIn. I wanted to be verified like Rihanna; now, I’m verified like a local news reporter in Wisconsin begging for permission to use someone's photo of an open candy bar for a story about fentanyl. 


And, of course, there’s the Trump-esque “blue check” insult—aimed at left-leaning journalists, not the general verified population. While it’s pretty much the weakest jab of all time, it’s still uncanny to see it lobbed around by people who are literally verified themselves.

And blue check status is about to get even worse, somehow. Elon Musk has suggested a few additional benefits for people who buy into verification: priority in replies and mentions, the ability to make longer video and audio posts, and fewer ads on your timeline. I have trouble seeing the utility of these features for anyone who isn’t trying to peddle something, which kind of boomerangs back and defeats the “fewer ads” thing. There are plenty of other platforms for longform video and audio, and lengthy clips don’t lend themselves to the compulsive scroll of the Twitter experience. And anyone who’s looked at an actual celebrity’s Instagram comments knows they’re chock-full of other verified reply guys, desperate for a response they’ll never receive. I can only imagine the same “hope she sees this” dynamic playing out on Twitter, except with NFT hexagons in Marc Andressen’s replies instead of YouTubers underneath another stellar picture of Cardi B’s ass.

I don’t plan on leaving Twitter until I stop seeing Real Housewives memes that make me laugh—I love jokes! But I’m not worried about losing any special advantages if people are allowed to pay into Twitter verification. In fact, it’ll finally give me the excuse to drop the checkmark. As someone using the platform with some of the “benefits” verification supposedly offers, trust me: A subscription to Twitter verification would be a total waste of money. I already hate my blue check for free.

Katie Way is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow her on Twitter.