We can all be special on Twitter and that’s good


Speaking as someone who’s had a blue tick after my name for a long time now, I wasn’t best pleased that Twitter decided to open the floodgates to all and sundry.

As the web giant announced in a blog post yesterday, anyone can now apply for the coveted blue tick, which tells the real world that you’re special and well, a minor celebrity.

Making it into the coveted club hasn’t been easy – the feature was first extended to headline grabbers and the writers of those headlines, as well as sundry Z-listers whose PR machines cared enough to chase down Twitter officials – and I can’t say it’s brought me any more followers at my @withazed account than an unverified status might have.

Twitter says the new application process will help more users find great, high-quality accounts to follow, while giving creators and influencers (ugh!) the chance to easily connect with a wider audience. Cynics might say it’s a desperate move to raise near stagnant user numbers, but the blue tick has other benefits.

It has kept me from posting late-night tweets (when I might not always be in full possession of all my faculties) and sporadic, off-the-cuff comments I might live to regret. There are people out there who might take my words a fraction more seriously than those spewing forth from unverified accounts – and I behave accordingly.

Twitter is a public forum and users shouldn’t post anything they wouldn’t say in public – unless they were willing to suffer the consequences. You could say the same about Facebook and Instagram, but I haven’t always been as circumspect there.

Blue status keeps me polite, civil and constantly reminds me of what my mother’s been telling me all my life: to think before speaking or, in this case, posting. My tongue has often got me into trouble.

Which is why I’ve got to grudgingly accept that the move is also a good thing for everyone else. It mayn’t get rid of all the trolls and flamers right away, but it should help bring discussions down a few decibels. And in the end, there’s less drama all round.