The social media giant, Twitter, recently turned off its blue tick verification badge for all accounts and introduced a monthly subscription fee of $8 sparking controversy and concerns from influencers and users alike. This new policy has caused a stir in the social media community, especially from influencers who have contrasting opinions about the decision.
The blue tick, which is a verification badge, is a symbol of authenticity and credibility on the platform. It was initially introduced to help users differentiate between genuine accounts and fake ones.
From the perspective of influencers, we understand that this new strategy is a threat to them. They are the most affected. Former BBN Housemate, Tacha, was seen begging Elon Musk to return her blue tick as she’s nothing without it. A lot of government agencies, international media platforms and sports celebrities have also refused the subscription. Examples include the White House, New York Times, Lebron James, etc.
For many, the blue tick is a symbol of their hard work and dedication to building their online presence. It signifies their authenticity and credibility and helps them gain more followers and sponsorships.
From the perspective of business-minded individuals, this new strategy is a positive development. The monthly subscription fee is a reasonable price to pay for access to the blue tick, which serves as a valuable tool for reaching a wider audience on Twitter, and with the freedom to create longer posts and edit posts. For businesses, having a blue tick on their Twitter profile can increase their visibility and attract more followers, which can ultimately translate into more sales.
It is important to note that this new verification policy is a textbook example of how the BRAND and the BUSINESS are at odds.
Looking at this from the brand side, this decision is completely contrary to what Twitter is known for as a brand. Twitter built their brand on the premise of providing a voice for the voiceless. The platform has given a platform to people who were previously ignored or silenced, leading to important conversations and movements.
Elon Musk on the other hand is trying to bring the business angle into it. It’s a business and money must be made. Let only those who have the money, have a say at the table. Tweak the algorithm to only favour those who can pay for the subscription. Let’s milk every juice out of this blue tick, no matter what.
Elon Musk is obviously selling the idea of “Pay to earn your exclusivity” and his fellow business-minded people who have no issues with it as against the idea of being verified just because you earned it with time, effort, and a track record of activity on the platform. But the question many previously verified individuals are asking is, “If all I need is $8 to be verified, is that still verification?”
But then, everyone is reacting and sharing their views on this new policy based on what Twitter means to them. And the lesson here is that people will always relate to your brand from the angle of what it means to them. Period!
Now the ultimate question is this. “Considering the population of Twitter users, which category of the audience has the largest number to determine the outcome of Elon Musk’s decision?” But then, as with any change, only time will tell how this new strategy will ultimately affect the social media landscape.
It’s also worthy of note that just a few hours before this post was published, some previously verified accounts with a followership of 1M and above have started seeing their “Blue Tick” being restored. Does that mean Elon Musk is bending to the pressure coming from the people? That’s still a question until we can uncover what exactly is happening.
When making decisions from the angle of the brand, the major things to be considered are industry positioning, market reputation, and brand idea (an essence or embodiment of what a brand stands for, which gives your brand its emotional dimension). On the other hand, when a business decision is being made, the major things business leaders consider are traction, revenue, profit maximization, and numbers generally.
As someone who is building a business brand, here is the take-home for you: your business is the machine that keeps your brand sustainable, but your brand is the human that keeps your business relatable. Never make business decisions that end up hurting your brand, and never make brand decisions that end up hurting your business. At your decision-making table, let there always be a voice for the brand and a voice for the business.