Twitter won't bestow a verified account on just anyone. In what appears to be the most recent case, it took media royalty status to convince the company to hand out its seal of approval. After joining Twitter February 3, self-proclaimed King of All Media Howard Stern has already received a Verified Account on Twitter.
Twitter is "way more fun than Facebook. Facebook all of a sudden looks old to me," said Stern during his Sirius XM radio show this morning. Stern spent the morning recapping his Twitter trial, discussing his experiences tweeting while watching the Super Bowl, and acknowledging his still-limited understanding of how to use the platform. "I'll get the hang of it," he told his listeners who subscribe to Sirius to hear his long-running show. By this afternoon he had collected over 143,000 followers.
Twitter last year said it had discontinued the account verification service and planned to build a better means of verification. The current system - evidently still offered to a select few - places a checkmark alongside an account name to certify that the account actually belongs to said person or entity.
However, when political candidates and office holders have attempted to attain verified accounts, some have been left in the cold. One consultant for Republican digital agency Engage said she had attempted to verify Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Twitter account to no avail. Neither McDonnell's @BobMcDonnell nor the @GovernorVA accounts are verified.
"We continue to very selectively verify accounts most at risk for impersonation on a one-off and highly irregular basis," a Twitter spokesperson told ClickZ News.
During this morning's show, Stern and colleagues discussed how rapidly he was able to attain a verified account. Twitter stressed the company does not charge for account verification or to expedite the service. "Twitter is a free service," the spokesperson stated in an e-mail. "No one - including people whose accounts are verified - pays anything. We handle verifications on a one-off basis, based on a number of factors (including the likelihood of impersonation)."
The spokesperson pointed ClickZ to a Twitter help center page that noted, "Twitter's public beta version of account verification is no longer available. After a long period of manual testing, we've closed public applications in order to explore algorithmic based verification. In the meantime, we're still verifying some trusted sources, such as our advertisers and partners. If you're one of our partners or advertisers, please follow up with your account manager for details."
In true Stern fashion, the talk show host detailed the minutiae of his novice Twitter experience today, telling his audience and show colleagues about his agonizing decision-making process about whether or not to tweet at all. "I don’t even know how to follow you guys," he told co-host Robin Quivers and longtime fan, media analyst Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis called this morning's show to tell Stern, "Now you are the king of all media, Howard, you are the king of Twitter."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT