Verifiably Tweet!

Brand You!

Brand You!!  No more meekly contributing to the team to avoid being called ’nuff’. “Nuff-ness” is the new black! We all are trying to establish our areas of expertise and make that expertise known to others. The term that encapsulates this movement is personal brand management.  Personal branding concept refers to self-packaging – the way one dresses, one’s knowledge base, one’s presence both in the real and virtual world (though this distinction is beginning to wear thin).

Social media presence is a key component of personal brand. Econsultancy notes it took TV 13 years to reach 50 million users, but only took Facebook nine months to reach 100 million users! Some employers are even checking your social media profiles to make the decision whether to hire or not.

Portia Simpson-Miller and Bruce Golding

In Jamaica we have had some hilarious examples of the appropriation of twitter names (or handles or twitter real estate). As in the early days of the worldwide web, twitter names go fast and are available on a first come, first served basis. Bruce Golding has lost one of his possible twitter identities – @bruceJLP . This is not illegal – I am sure that there are other Bruces in the JLP. Portia Simpson-Miller (Jamaica’s Leader of the Opposition) has a number of ‘false’ handles in operation – @PNPPartyLeader, @portiadan100, @Portia Simpson (could this really be her?), and @portia03. These handles have been the source of much amusement in Jamaica – the tweets have been hilarious. A recent exchange was:

RT @marlonmusique: Edith is on the war path, wah yah guh do @bruceJLP•Outlaw wigs…That’ll shut her up, apologies in advance2 @elvajamaica

However, fun and joke aside, this represents serious breach to personal brand management. Suppose the satire is not as clear, then followers could think that they are really following you and that can confuse and adversely impact your personal brand.

Twitter has recognised this with the introduction of verification. Twitter says the accounts have to be public and actively tweeting to get verified. However, given the importance of personal brand management, shouldn’t the number of followers to the fake accounts matter?  After all it was celebrity impersonation which inspired verification, as in the case of Kanye West. Kanye said: “The heads of Twitter knew I didn’t have a Twitter [account]”(back in the day, of course!). Why should celebrity status alone not qualify one for verification?

Kanye West

I see a lot of celebrities who are confusingly not verified!  Usain Bolt is not verified! The three most popular Usain Bolt twitter accounts have 60,356 followers between them.  Donovan Bailey is not verified as well – despite attempts to be verified.  It is true that Donovan Bailey only has 101 followers, but he is a celebrity and given the importance of his brand and his attempt to be verified, shouldn’t he be considered? In his own words, “@support why am I not verified yet? EVERYONE please RT 11:08 AM Aug 21st “. Even @OPMJamaica (Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica) is not verified.

Tweeters are not taking this official obscure system of verification lying down! We see the prevalence of  handles like @therealyendip, @officialasafa or @iamthececile. However that is not always enough. @realrogerebert is the fake one. The real one is actually @ebertchicago.

The only real solution to this is to ask the Twitter gods (or Biz Stone @biz) to open up the verification system.  Why not put together regional teams to help in the identification of celebrities? Twitter is now a worldwide phenomenon with over 18 million twitter users, been the subject of controversy in countries as far-flung as India and more. It is time to verify!! Make our global celebrities verifiably tweet!


2 thoughts on “Verifiably Tweet!”

  1. Totally agree that Twitter would benefit from some volunteer system similar to Wikipedia when it comes to verification.

    This should also be a lesson to people: Even if you don’t plan to use it, protect your brand by registering the name on the latest website early, not after Oprah and CNN jump on.

    For the record I ended up registering @PNPJamaica after working on an article about Jamaican political parties using the web out of fear of giving some joker the idea of pretending to be the PNP (the JLP is on Twitter under @JLPJamaica).

    I offered to hand it over to them at no cost but no one has responded as yet.

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