The Real Me

verifiedWhen “Verified” badges became available on Twitter I signed up for one.  I just thought it was something one was supposed to do, to provide some criterion so Tweets could be properly attributed.

This was during Twitter’s pre-boom time, when fewer than three dozen people had seen Kim Kardasian have sex and Justin Beiber was not yet a mutated You Tube sensation. We were still toying with ways to connect on the Internet. Most people my age still had no Facebook account. Twitter still felt like a small, growing company and, if memory serves (no Google in a Twitter story), the point of verification was just that — Twitter affirmed the tweeter’s reality.

A brief aside to drive home the point: Not too long before this, I called my local Verizon story with an eye on doing a story about Twitter. No one in the store had heard of it.

By the time I registered, Twitter had already been overwhelmed with verification requests. They politely told me they were at capacity and would let me know when there was enough room to accommodate me. In last week’s blog, I wrote that there were no circumstances under which I would stand in a club line. I guess this is the exception. I waited and even asked a few more times but, as it turned out, Twitter had plenty of verification room, just none for me.

In retrospect, and with no hint of sour grapes, I’m fortunate Twitter told me I wasn’t on the “list.” Who needs to be assured the drunken drivel that often populates my Twitter feed is really mine? An example:

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Would that be any more profound if Twitter told you it was definitely me who wrote it? Doubtful.

It is a little hurtful, though, the discursive notion of my social media value. As if Twitter snidely says to those of us who don’t qualify for verification: “Who would ever pretend to be you? Especially given the current crop of verify-worthy faces.”

When famous people started using Twitter, some discovered their names already being used by non-famous humans, which was certainly devine oversite. (Too) Much is made about whacky celebrity baby names, but when just any schmo could accidentally wind up with @stevejackson, it is only fair to give your kid a name like Jermajesty to ensure his Twiter handle is always going to be available.

The horror.

Even worse, people who expected to be famous eventually but, like me, were unverifiable because they were not important (that is, had no press people) had no way to assure their nascent fan base of their twitter activity. And so (I propose) were born The Reals.

In a sense, I think it’s awesome other humans found a way to make Twitter even more narcissistic. But there is no non-ironic way to call oneself “@TheReal” anything without coming off as a total douche. As My cohost Todd DeHart puts iron this week’s Todcast: It’s the digital equivalent of referring to yourself in the third person.

Beyond verification hate, we’ve got this week’s entertainment news, the State of the Beer with Bryan Brushmiller and plenty more. Take a listen…