Why I Couldn’t Care Less About the Blue Tick


Never has a simple icon caused so much stress and insecurity. The rollout of the blue tick application process means that non-celebs can now have the badge of approval from social media sites. But what happens when you do don't get one? And when you do...?

The Blue Tick. I’ve given it a name, because it is an actual thing, with a mind of its own, and deep, mysterious power over those in its thrall. Like one of those eighties horror films, the blue tick has taken on a significance disproportionate to its actual merit, turning ballsy social media account holders into needy, insecure individuals, uncertain of their worth. I’m speaking for myself here.

I’m referring, of course, to the official badge of recognition gifted by the main social media platform gods – Instagram Idol, Twitter Tycoon, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name the three biggest – to account holders who satisfy the requirement of being relevant. I use the term relevant loosely, because some of those bestowed with this mark of ‘authority’ could not be less relevant if they tried. Unless you’re interested in sweary, mouthy women talking nonsense for the sake of an argument, or pop stars who’ve been absent from the scene for years.

When chatter on Facebook recently began to surface about the sudden more widespread availability of a blue tick, interest ranged from raised eyebrows of mild interest, to full-on hunger for its endowment. I watched, as friend after professional contact tried, and failed to achieve the verified status required to secure the little badge of esteem that is so randomly handed out by big organisations, rather like a birthday child, dishing out party bags to only his favourite friends.

Bloggers celebrated when they became part of the blue tick throng, marking their success with the immediate unfollowing of thousands of their worshippers, and the removal of their accounts from the smaller platforms to make the point. I have a blue tick now, I’m too important to be here, the clear message.

Eventually, of course, I succumbed, more to curiosity than anything else, though I confess I did harbour a secret hope that Twitter, Instagram, et.al., might deem me to be more significant than those who have gone before me to the sacrifice. I prepared well. I cast my eyes over my Twitter feed, clicking on avatars with the coveted symbol, scanning their profiles for evidence of their qualifications.

I was confident. There were hundreds of accounts similar to mine (though not as good, obviously) branded with the mark of social media respect. Accounts with thousands of followers less than mine; bios just like mine. I even read their tweets. They were tweeting about the same stuff as me. In fact, I had tweeted it before them. It was a sure thing. I filled in the form, and sat back to await my crown. It never came. Instead I got that email; the one saying I wasn’t good enough right now; it was me, not them, and they weren’t even sorry. I was left with my cold cup of smugness and no answers.

Of course, I threw it off. I know my worth. I don’t need an algorithm to tell me that I matter. Who cares if Twitter likes a Kardashian more than me? Who’s even bothered about the insincere folk who only do it for kicks and cash? I’m happy with what I do, the money I make, the actual friends I have over the hordes that might follow me on the say-so of a blue tick.

Or am I? I’m a blogger, a writer; I’m judged by what I produce online on a daily basis. Don’t I want that status? The external validation that comes from a stranger saying I’m worth paying attention to? And the biggest question of all – what on earth does it take to get a blue tick?

I’m undecided. One thing I do know though. I’m not going to beg for it again. If it comes, it comes. And once I get it, I’m damn sure I won’t have time to go and unfollow the 17,000 accounts that helped get me there. Blogging is fickle, this week’s hot shot is next year’s onlooker, and the bloggers who were once your only readers tend to take offence when you dispose of them. Getting big is hard work. Staying big is only achievable with your friends around you. Unless you’re Katie Hopkins, of course. But who wants that as the price of success..?


17 thoughts on “Why I Couldn’t Care Less About the Blue Tick”

  1. The wondering what makes someone ‘worthy’ is obviously universal because a group of my friends had the same discussion. The people we were discussing had half my Twitter followers and readership, so I offered to apply to see what they came back with. I was refused – quite rightly I think – and in the absence of any particular reference or ruling I’ve decided the main reason they have one and we don’t is possibly because they have a cock.

    • Hahahahahaha, oh Jenny I’m properly ROFL at that. Knowing you, I know you don’t say that lightly, and I had a similar thought! Maybe Dad bloggers are deemed more interesting and valid because there’s just so many of us mums doing it. So you have to have a point of difference, not just a good site. That said, there are one or two mum bloggers I know with the tick who don’t have any more difference than I do…

      • Not being mean to anyone involved, it does seem that to stand out you have to have something that is a bit different, and if that is purely because you are in a minority then it’s hardly your own fault is it. Kind of makes a mockery of the tick existing though – unless of course there is some definitive line somewhere and we can all begin to understand what it is 😀

    • That’s the behaviour I don’t like Sarah. I can deal with most things, and I’m really happy for people who achieve things, as long as they don’t step on others along the way. I’ve never been able to cope with arrogance.

  2. Hahaha shows what small fry I am – I hadn’t even heard about this blue tick thing! Can’t honestly say I don’t care now I’ve heard about it, but can’t say I do care all that much either! Life is too short to worry about being in the top 5% ??

    • Ah if it were the top 5% I’d totally understand it. But it’s not. Not always. Some people I can totally see why they have it, others it makes no sense to me. And there are no real criteria, so it’s really hard to see that it’s anything other than arbitrary. But exactly – there’s a lot more to worry about than whether Twitter want’s to deface your avatar with their brand 😉

  3. One of the things that I have always respected about you Helen, is that you have had great success with your blog and you have always kept it real. You don’t push yourslef endlessly on social media and you are not full of your own self-worth. If that means that you are not worthy of a blue tick, then maybe that is a good thing.

    • Thanks Nikki, that means a lot. It’s hard to strike the balance between confident and go-getting, and humble and appreciative of your audience. But I’ve always tried to temper success and pride over it, with respect for the people who read, especially those who got me started.

  4. I think the criteria is pretty clear, though – it’s for accounts where you’re prettier than everyone else. Right? No? Bugger, I totally thought that was what it was…

    Anyway – I think the criteria is that you publish content that might be mistakenly attributed to someone else – whether that’s via an imitation account, or another person in your industry. So it’s available to journalists – the bloggers I know who have a tick are bloggers who have been published in independent media publications under their own byline.

    I applied out of curiosity once I read it was available to anyone – I’ve been published in most UK papers at one time or another, so sent over a few URLs and a scan of my driving license, and that was that. I think I also had to ensure there was a DOB, full name, photo and cover image on my profile. But it only took a couple of hours to come through.

    It HONESTLY never occurred to me to claim any sort of kudos from it – you never know in this game when some idiot might set up a parody account changing my name to Spittle, I suppose, but I suspect if you’re using a tick as a reason to stop mingling with “the little people” it’s not the tick that’s an issue, it’s the fact that your own head appears to have got stuck up your own behind…

    • EXACTLY! I’m not really that bothered, it is the whole ‘look at me, I must be more awesome than you’ mentality that is so galling. So by your first point, if someone were to set up an account called Mummy Actually, and started posting stuff about kids at school and on their holidays, I might qualify for a blue tick because I was here first and have more followers for now? But if they suddenly got really big, then they’d get the blue tick and I’d just be an imposter? You know, maybe it’s actually worth setting up a new account to see if that works. Then again…

  5. This post truly resonates with me. I have seen the influx of the blue tick and even though I shouldn’t let it, it has gotten to me. What do they have that I don’t have. How do I get what they have…

    • Ah Joy, don’t stress. Keep doing good things, because that’s what really makes you feel happy. A blue tick can get you excited for a night, but at the end of the day it’s not the kind of satisfaction that lasts.

  6. Oh Helen I do love how you nail these things. I feel well rejected though they just ignored me – not even the no e-mail – what’s up with that?! And I don’t care because Justin Bieber still follows me lmao – worth more than any blue tick right.


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.