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Newsonomics: In Memphis’ unexpected news war, The Daily Memphian’s model demands attention
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Jan. 15, 2020, noon
LINK: www.youtube.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   January 15, 2020

There are few questions I get more often from journalists and other Nieman Lab readers than this one: How do I get verified on Twitter? Stores may not take checks anymore, but that blue check is still valuable currency on social media. While it’s supposed to simply indicate that Twitter users really are who they say they are, it’s come to symbolize a lot more. Sometimes it’s a career or even life goal:

Sometimes it’s a privileged caste, “the blue checks,” a NYC/DC social media elite that isn’t as bright as it thinks:

Part of the interest in verification came from the fact that the process is so opaque. When @NiemanLab got verified in 2012, it just…happened. No application, no nothing — the blue check just showed up one day. When the entire Nieman Lab staff got verified in 2014, we had to send in an Excel spreadsheet (!) with everyone’s Twitter handles in it.

In 2016, Twitter put up an online form where you could request verification, but it put that “on hold” a year later.

So what’s a thirsty tweeter to do?

CEO Jack Dorsey was asked that question in a video just published by Wired, in which he answers a number of questions from Twitter users. The Verge noted that, in one of his replies, Dorsey says there probably won’t ever be an Edit button on Twitter, alas. But they seem to have skipped over this exchange, six minutes and 21 seconds in. Dorsey is answering a question from @logmey92 (Logan Meyer) that was asked a few weeks ago:

Dorsey’s reply:

There’s a guy named Kayvon, and he handles all the verification, which is the blue checkmark. So if you either DM him, or mention him, you have a high probability of getting a blue checkmark. So it’s @K-A-Y-V-Z. Verification, he’s the verification god. So just go to him and he’ll get you sorted.

The “guy named Kayvon” is Kayvon Beykpour, previously co-founder of Periscope and currently Twitter’s head of product. He was at CES talking about the future of Twitter a few days ago.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Twitter’s head of product is a pretty busy fellow and not the person making granular decisions on who gets a blue check and who doesn’t. So I strongly suspect Jack is playing a little prank on his colleague by making his DM inbox and mentions utterly useless.

One clue is that the guy named Kayvon has liked these three tweets:

And responded to that last one with this gif:

And changed his Twitter bio to: “product lead @twitter & co-founder of @Periscopeco. SORRY I’M NOT THE “VERIFICATION GOD” AND WON’T BE ABLE TO VERIFY YOU.”

But that hasn’t stopped the committed masses from knocking on his door:

But seriously, who are you gonna trust? Multi-billionaire Jack Dorsey, CEO of two publicly traded companies and man who meditates for two hours a day? Or “a guy named Kayvon”? DM away, I say.

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