On Twitter, users have historically been able to go through a process to get “verified” by submitting a request to Twitter support. If granted, users get a nifty blue check mark next to their name that is meant to prove that they are indeed who they purport to be. This has helped guard against attempts by copycat accounts to impersonate Twitter users of import. It was never entirely clear to me what criteria Twitter used to verify users. But it hasn’t mattered for six months, as Twitter has shut down its verification program which it says is under review.
Like it or not, that blue check mark means something, which is why many regular users are frustrated by Twitter’s seemingly indefinite moratorium on verification. Verified accounts are generally more trusted on the platform, so they get more likes, retweets & followers. These interactions are the currency of Twitter, so at the moment there is a permanent upper class and under class of users…at least until Twitter comes out with its plan for verification.
Twitter has made exceptions to the moratorium. The site made an intentional decision to verify the Parkland students’ accounts, along with their families, following the massacre at the school three months ago. This was the right call.
There is another important group of users that is greatly affected by verification or lack thereof: political candidates. Many candidates are new to Twitter when they begin campaigns, and don’t have a lot of followers to start out. In most cases they are facing opposition party accounts that are verified and have thousands of followers.
The fact that verification is turned off for these candidates, no matter their party, is very problematic. Twitter is a hub for political discourse in this country. It is a medium used by politicians and media in particular to define the political narrative.
There are currently – by DemWritePress’s assessment – about 55 Democrats who have been nominated to represent their party in the November election from significant swing districts, most of whom are competing against incumbent Republicans. These candidates are key to flipping the House. Our review found that over half of them are not verified on Twitter.
But there is hope. A post by Texas Democrat Spencer Bounds (running for State House District 82 against Republican incumbent Tom Craddick) outlined a methodology that political candidates can use to get Twitter verified. Since I saw it, I have been sharing this methodology with individual candidates for months. It works.
I wanted to post it here so candidates and activists can bookmark it and share it with others. This may seem insignificant to some, but in my estimation it is a pretty simple step someone can take to have fairly dramatic results for their social media presence.
Without further ado…
How Political Candidates Can Get Verified On Twitter
The candidate should send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
- A photo or photocopy of a government-issued ID (attached to the email)
- Links to social media accounts
- Links to articles about the candidate (including voter guides if available)
- A list of Twitter-verified journalists following the candidate’s account
Yep. That’s it. Some candidates I’ve spoken with have gotten verified almost instantaneously, others have said it takes about two weeks.
So go do it. And most importantly…don’t forget to follow ME! (even though I am sadly stranded without a blue check mark) @DemWrite
See ya on Twitter.