Having a social justice warrior meme group has brought people into my life who are serious about their politics and also fucking hilarious.
Getting verified on Twitter is a bit of a mystery. Which I suppose is why many people want to find out how to do it.
To unravel the mystery a bit further, I decided to go down a rabbit hole of articles online to see if I could find every possible angle on this one, and here's My Complete Guide To Getting Verified On Twitter Which Probably Won't Get You Verified On Twitter (But It's The Best I Can Do). Or MCGTGVOTWPWGYVOTBITBICD for short. And yes, I realize some of these options are the equivalent of saying "You have to know someone," but as I discovered the more I looked, that's also not entirely true. Strategy can help.
So let's look at the routes to getting the blue.
Option 1: Have a good agent, and ask him or her to do the dirty work. Trust me, a good agent will be able to hook you up.
That's how Guy Raz, host of NPR's All Things Considered did it. He's not a celebrity, per se, but he does have an agent with a connection to Twitter to make it happen. His agency: UTA.
It's also how any new celebrities joining Twitter -- like the site's newest addition this week of Drew Barrymore -- get it done. They have people.
Option 2: Get a job at a company that has a deal with Twitter to get company-wide verification for its high-level employees.
That's what happened for employees at BuzzFeed, although not everyone wanted the blue check mark. Editor Katie Notopoulos declined the opportunity because she didn't want to lose her "street cred" as explained by Choire Sicha in this very funny piece in The Awl about "The Unverified."
Katie herself also wrote a delightful piece on the very randomness of the process of verification by highlighting "The Least Popular Verified Twitter Accounts." My favorite on her list? A very affable-seeming Philadelphia police officer named Roderick Walton (who has as of this writing 287 followers -- wait, no 288, I just followed him).
Option 3: See if you can angle (but don't beg) to get noticed by Twitter's @Verified account, and in a sense, "dress for the job you want" by following the best practices Twitter recommends to its newly verified users.
Anil Dash has a great post explaining what the new Twitter verification process entails, including the randomness of selection -- and how, literally, you might wake up one day to find that you have a direct message from @Verified. The message reads: "We at Twitter would like to verify your account. Please click this account and follow the instructions."
There are then three steps that essentially test you on your Twitter knowledge of how to get more followers and tweet effectively. Right before you get to the verification page you are told to "increase your trustworthiness by following other verified users."
So until you get that DM from @Verified, follow the old adage to "act as if." Essentially, make yourself stand out in your field, demonstrate value, tweet well and follow verified users. Show that you are following Twitter's guidelines, too, by embedding the "follow" button your website, as Twitter recommends.
After you've done all this, multiple articles recommend that you then DM @Verified yourself -- but it's a Catch 22 because you can only DM an account if they follow you back. I suppose you could ask someone who is followed by @Verified -- seeing as the account follows more than 54,000 users -- to send a DM on your behalf? You never know.
Or you could try what the user @Real_JuicyJones did and choose a name like "Real Juicy Jones." He recently tweeted, "I got verified accounts following me because of my twitter name. Turn up!"
Option 4: Network with -- or better yet, work for, or even better yet, be that person -- who has an "in" with someone powerful at Twitter who has pull.
Look at Howard Stern. He actually had Twitter founder Biz Stone on the show and asked him to verify one of his staff members right then and there. Biz provided the hookup, and Ronnie the Limo Driver is now verified.
It's also how I was able to get verified. In 2010, I emailed Biz directly because I had his contact info from writing one of the first articles on Twitter in 2009 and also reaching out to him for another article on networking. Rereading it now, the email I wrote is pretty sycophantic and cringe-inducing, but hey, transparency, right?
subject: Please read: Mandy Stadtmiller from the New York Post
"Hi Biz, I've interviewed you a couple of times for The Post and I'm truly sorry to bother you with this... but am really hoping you can help. I just had another person email me today to ask if it was really my Twitter account and if I really worked at The NY Post. In 2009, I wrote one of the very first articles about Twitter for The Post right after SXSW and am a huge advocate when old-school media people are often so quick to put it down. As I said, I'm very sorry to bother you with this as you clearly have a million more important things to do -- but I'm not sure what else to do and figured it was worth a shot. Thank you so much regardless... and as you can see I plug Twitter below in my signature file for The Post, too! I've even stepped up to the larger News Corp. organization as a whole and told them to get involved on a much bigger level here with the social media tool. I will see if I can reach you by cell phone later today as well. Hope all is terrific. Best, Mandy"
When I logged into Twitter later that day, the verified check mark was right there.
Option 5: It's rumor and anecdotal, but as one highly publicized case revealed, pay $15,000 in advertising and Twitter will verify your company's account.
At least that is the story that Ad Age reported about the magazine The Fader a year ago. I just checked, and the music mag's account is now verified so maybe bad press is another way to go?
Option 6: Not so subtly "reach out" to Twitter PR in the name of investigating this whole "verification" phenomenon.
Ask a bunch of questions to the Twitter team as you do your "research" and make yourself known. Get on the radar. You might just get verified and be able to write an article like this.
Option 7: Have your fans campaign for you on Twitter directly to @Verified to get the checkmark.
Check out the recently verified music group The Lylas. What is their most recent tweet? "We are so thankful to our amazing fans for getting us verified!" If you search @Verified, you'll see plenty of folks pleading for someone to get the badge. Apparently, sometimes it actually works.
Option 8: Photoshop it -- but risk getting suspended on Twitter.
Thanks to the header design of Twitter there's a hack that lets you embed the checkmark, although if you have fairly discerning vision you can tell it's not the real thing because the layers throw the shading off. Also, if you do this: Twitter might just suspend your account so, yeah, there's that.
Option 9: Realize that in the end, getting the verified badge really doesn't mean a whole lot anyway, and forget about it.
Just look at Brian Cuban's story of getting verified. He doesn't take himself or the process too seriously and concludes on a pretty great note: "I am here to tell you that in the end, except for some specific impersonation issues, it doesn’t mean squat. Have a nice day!"
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.