I’m a blue ticker and proud
Some years ago, under the former regime of Jack Dorsey, Twitter was handing out blue ticks like candy. Every journalist on the face of the earth seemed to be awarded one, including yours truly. For a time at least, it was a badge of honour to boast about when you were out with fellow hacks or contacts. The world was divided into ‘blue tickers’ and the ‘unworthy’, who could only dream of one day securing this social media status symbol. With Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform however, that dream is now a reality for everyone come 1 April.
The billionaire is promoting social media equality by levelling the playing field. He’s also hoping to rake in millions of dollars in the process, with those wanting to become nouveau blue tickers having to cough up $8 per month for the pleasure. Elon gets great and visible recurring revenues from the initiative, while you will initially get to edit your Tweets, post high-definition videos and have custom navigation tools.
Naturally, the old guard of blue tickers have scoffed at the move, declaring that paying for such a service would be deemed ‘uncool’ and generally arguing that the pay-to-play nature of the scheme is unsavoury. Frankly, they’ve had it too good for too long. If they really valued Twitter, they would be willing to fork-out the cash to pay for the service on the rule that if you don’t pay for stuff, it tends to go away.
Though Elon has been (rightly or wrongly) criticised for his handling of Twitter employees and his takeover approach in general, he’s dead right on one thing: the platform has been unprofitable for years. In 2020 the company posted an annual loss of $1bn and then another net loss of more than $220m in 2021. And by the end of 2022, Twitter’s monthly active users were estimated to be more than 360m. In and of itself this is impressive so long as you don’t compare it to social media competitors Meta (2.9bn) or TikTok (1bn).
Twitter is in a hyper-competitive space, so it literally pays to help out. Also, and let’s be honest here, there is an element of ego in all of this – fundamentally, this trait has helped popularise modern social media platforms. Elon has discussed how blue tickers will be boosted over normies in users’ Twitter streams. “Tweets from verified users will be prioritised — helping to fight scams and spam,” we have been promised in a soon-to-come feature.
Since Twitter has been around for 17 years, who would want to fall to the bottom of the pack after spending years posting Love Island hot takes on the platform? I, for one, will be wearing my blue tick with great pride alongside my fellow plebs.