Luckily, I don’t have to make a decision right now, since Twitter Blue is not available in Europe.
What’s Twitter Blue, you ask?
Well, the answer has two branches. The old Twitter Blue was a subscription that allowed users access to certain features on the platform, such as the ability to edit a post or delay its publication.
The new Twitter Blue monthly subscription is Elon Musk’s version of a monthly subscription that now moved on to include a key element: an account’s verified checkmark.
In fact, Twitter Blue seems now to mainly be about the blue seal of approval, formerly reserved for what Twitter’s verification team considered VIPs of the platform.
According to the new documentation, the old blue mark used to indicate “active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest that Twitter had independently verified based on certain requirements”, while now it may mean one of two things: either the account was verified based on the old criteria — active and authentic — , or that the account has an active Twitter Blue subscription.
It’s… confusing, to say the least.
It’s stupid, to put it bluntly.
So now, anyone in a country that has access to Twitter Blue — “the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, with plans to expand” — , with access to a device that runs on iOS, and willing to spend $8 on a Twitter subscription, can finally have a blue checkmark — technically, a white checkmark on blue background — next to their name, just like artists, official organizations, and other individuals or commercial or government entities that went through the previous verification process.
This rubs many narcissistic individuals the wrong way.
I’ll explain why.
The stupid collection of blue and white pixels used to be the mark of status on Twitter.
From politicians to movie stars to so-called activists whose sole social contribution was to start a Twitter hashtag that trended on the platform, the Verified crowd was perceived as the elite on that corner of the internet.
Even though Twitter itself claimed that the checkmark was only a signal that the account indeed represents the individual or entity they claim to be, the class shitshow ran on the platform since, in Musk’s words, it created a “lords and peasants system”.
Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.
Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
I fully stand by this opinion.
The verified status was a vehicle for authority bias.
Blue tick accounts were what narcissists needed to get an ego boost online.
Frankly, I’ve seen plenty of idiots with a verified status on that platform. But they were perceived as socially relevant because of the pixel collection slapped by Twitter’s team next to their name.
Just to make the idiocy of all this even clearer I’ll say that for and on Twitter, surgeons, scientists, and other individuals who are the core of a healthy and functional society would be absolute nobodies unless there was a Wikipedia page dedicated to them and their account was followed by thousands of individuals.
Musk is trying to change that by introducing the new Twitter Blue.
Now, I am not a fan of Musk — I like the bigger goals and missions that he sets for himself and his teams, as well as the way he connects to the concept of humanity, but plenty of his actions were less than stellar lately, which made me rather skeptical of his ability to transform every business he touches into social gold.
However, I loved his Twitter takeover.
I hated the previous management of the platform and would see almost no reason for me to spend more time over there. Now I am more confident that things can change for the better in the long run.
Confidence and hope aside, I am rather confused about what’s happening on Twitter and how I should approach my activity on the platform moving forward.
And most of my decision-making processes revolve around the Twitter Blue subscription.
As I said before, the option to subscribe to Twitter Blue is not yet available in Europe, so I can take my time and see how things unfold in the US and the other regions where it’s being implemented first.
I will however list several elements of my thinking process, in an attempt to clarify things for myself and maybe provide extra food for thought for those of you reading.
I would consider paying for a Twitter Blue subscription if:
- The checkmark wouldn’t be the only element that labels an account as verified. Additional labels would be nice. Just like right now there’s an “Official” label being placed under some usernames to let readers know that is an official, a.k.a. verified source. They are who they say they are.
- The blue tick wouldn’t be the main feature gained via the monthly subscription. I won’t be paying for a stupid collection of pixels on Twitter. I did however pay for in-game stupid collections of pixels. Choose your poison kind of thing.
- The monthly payment wouldn’t mean you get verified monthly. If it only means “I paid $8 to support the company/fit in/manage my business/boost my ego/etc”, then OK. But if the blue tick also means “this person provided documents and information this month as well to prove they are active and authentic”, uhm… no, thanks. I’d rather pay a one-time fee for that, and it may have legal implications such as “I confirm that I am responsible if I allow someone else to use my account”.
- I really wanted to simply support the company financially. If I like it and it treats me well, paying for a subscription can be a supportive action, ongoing or every once in a while.
I would not consider paying for a Twitter Blue subscription if:
- The blue tick is just a narcissistic perk.
- The platform allows abuse to thrive via blue tick accounts. Let’s say, if scammers thrive because their accounts now look legit and Twitter does nothing about it.
- The platform shadowbans those who do not pay for the subscription. They’re already doing this by creating a “verified” tab that you can use to filter actions from other accounts. I’ll wait and see exactly what the Verified status will mean in the close future.
- I cannot access Twitter Blue from any platform where I am logged in. So far, the lords and peasants system is still in place if only those with iOS devices can get Twitter Blue, and therefore a verified badge.
- Things change often and the goalposts keep moving. Yes, changes are expected and even beneficial. Plenty of things will be moved around until the new platform gets into the shape Musk and the users will be happy with. However, if things become chaotic because of these changes — Musk is quite volatile — then I would not pay for a subscription until I understand what’s going on.
So, yeah… These are my initial thoughts on Twitter’s new monthly subscription.
How about you? Will you be paying for the blue tick monthly?