Over the weekend on Twitter (where every day is some version of hell-Monday), the author Cormac McCarthy began tweeting after a long absence. The author of such famed works as “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men” tweeted a sarcastic quip aimed at his publicist.
As presumed, this was a parody account (though quite on-brand for the 88-year-old author). That didn’t stop Twitter from verifying the account, allegedly without interaction from the account holder. New Republic’s Alex Shephard confirmed this, as reported by Rolling Stone.
This isn’t the first time Twitter (and Jack specifically) have been duped by a parody Cormac McCarthy account. Back in 2012, Jack welcomed a fake account to the platform, without a shade of irony. The point is, you’ll never get verified if this is the current process for verification.
The only checks and balances in the system appear to be if someone on the verification end lacks the cultural knowledge to make a sound decision. Also, having been verified on Twitter, the verification process for us semi-normies involves a bit more than say-so.
In its FAQ on the issue, Twitter specifically mentions that parody accounts are not eligible for verification
Most of us have to submit a government-issued ID as well as a good reason why we should be verified (rather than just existing).
Yet, celebrities are surely verified with a letter from their publicist (what celebrity has time to send a scan of their ID to Twitter), and based on this latest error by the verification team, the gullibility of Twitter employees seems to be enough to get something verified. It’s a manual process, with millions upon millions of users, all thinking (thanks to the internet itself) they are more special than they are (they aren’t), so it’s natural to expect some mistakes.
As it was naturally overwhelmed, Twitter had closed its verification process until earlier this year, when it re-opened, giving hope to millions of chodes and ego-soaked Twitter users that they too, might someday get that blue checkmark.
I can tell you from experience, the only thing that blue check brings is unbridled and confused anger from those who aren’t verified (and are under the impression that all verified users are in some sort of elite, left-wing club — I can assure you that we are not, though if there was any type of elite club, I wouldn’t be invited anyhow). There is always going to be an underlying search for validation as humans, the blue check offering this for those who cannot find it outside of their screens.
Insert eye roll here.
Listen, I know that’s easy to say since I am verified and it is a process that I participated in. At the time, it made sense, I was a more active journalist, and why the hell not? Everyone else was doing it. Yes, mom, I’d jump off that fucking bridge.
At the same time, there is an ambivalence that comes with it that grows larger every day
As with my general use of Twitter itself, I just really don’t care. And I don’t think, based on my lack of engagement with my modicum of followers, anyone else does as well. With so many people seeking validation and verification though, Twitter verifying someone like me wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, but verifying a parody account certainly shines a light on how arbitrary and shitty the process is outside of known celebrity properties.
Why am I verified and not a publisher and editor of a technology website that sometimes gets linked from Techmeme? Is it because Kevin hasn’t tried hard enough? Is it because Twitter’s backlog of verification requests is so massive that it’s easier to just deny batches of requests at a time? I shouldn’t be verified (but don’t take it away Jack, just saying) but Kevin probably should. I’m sure there is a sack of sweaty potatoes out there somewhere just waiting to impersonate him on Twitter. Perhaps if Kevin was a parody account, verification would just be one viral joke away.
Knowing all this, and with the future of Twitter likely being a place where every user will have to be verified (it’s the only way to bring accountability to the trolling side of the platform), does verification even matter? There might be a point where joining Twitter means a monthly fee and automatically having to go through the verification process. Right now it means sleepless nights, angry social impotence, and a slew of tweets attacking blue checks for simply existing, or getting lucky with the process years ago.
Being verified on Twitter matters as much as it doesn’t. The only plus to being verified on Twitter is that brand customer service accounts are a bit more eager to assist, under the constant threat of amplification of slow or bad customer service. Is this the world we want to live in? Verification for the sake of customer service? Or would we rather live in a world where all the properly funny parody accounts are verified so we can at least squeeze a bit of enjoyment out of this hell-platform before we all inevitably meet our doom?
Regardless, Kevin will have to peel my blue check from my cold, dead butt cheeks.
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