Sunday, November 6, 2022


You shouldn’t “punch down” if you can help it, but when we are all below Elon Musk, and he has just bought the online home of “punching down”, the rest of us have nowhere to go but up, or away altogether.

I had already decided I was going to write about Twitter’s “blue tick” verification before its new owner started firing half the company’s staff, triggering lawsuits, recriminations and an exodus of both users and advertisers, so whether I decide to take Musk’s offer of a “blue tick” Twitter Blue account, for $7.99 per month, depends if Twitter remains long enough in its current form to be of any use, let alone whether the subscription cost goes on improving the experience of using the site, or paying off debt loaded onto it through Musk’s buyout.

The question that remains for me, in case it remains a proposition on Twitter or elsewhere, is this: if I do not have the influence or following on a social media account to earn a “blue tick” verification, should I just buy one if the opportunity presents itself?

I have Twitter and Instagram accounts using the handle @msleighspence, and both have follower accounts in the tens because I only use them “for work”, posting links to these articles, and re-Tweeting the “CheapShow” podcast and occasional other thinks I like. Right now, using these accounts more would count as “work”, meaning I perhaps do not use them enough to justify any clarification from the sites that I am the person named “Leigh Spence” on them.

Until now, account verification is something awarded when it is earned, in the case of YouTube’s unlocking of features once subscriber thresholds are achieved, or when it is needed: both Instagram and Twitter (up to now) verify accounts featured in various news sources, with the user needing to provide proof demonstrating you are well-known public name that people are willing to seek out, bringing traffic to the site involved. The verification is then in the interest of the site as much as of the individual.

Now, I was thinking that buying a “blue tick” for my Twitter would act as the cheapest form of paid advertising I have come across – yes, I use Twitter and Instagram for advertising, but verifying one account would improve its visibility, and if that increases the number of people viewing these articles, then that is money well spent, so long as that is the only outcome. Increased exposure cuts both ways, and if reducing or eliminating your presence on the site becomes the better option, then being verified that you are yourself, and all the money you spent, is a waste of time – no wonder people like to be anonymous if they can.

I have still to make up my mind about opening a Twitter subscription in order to have a verified account, as Elon Musk’s plans for the site are currently changing like the weather, or whether Stephen King objects to them, his opposition to a $20 per month cost for his “blue tick” prompting Musk to offer $8 instead – all King needs to do now is two write Musk into his next novel as either revenge or as a warning. 

What I am currently anticipating is YouTube introducing social media-like “handles” for its users, at no cost, which may find my videos easier to find, at no cost – when that goes live, I will be at @leighspence there.

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