Right before the close of last year, Elon Musk rolled out “Twitter Blue,” which is essentially the payola of tweets. It does offer some benefits, such as a normally 280-character limit, now stretched to a 10,000 limit. In addition to having a verified-esque blue checkmark, Twitter Blue users can also enjoy such app amenities as editing their tweets, having their tweets populate earlier in the comments section, and up to 60 seconds of video. Following suit, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta (eye-roll) decided to take that terrible idea over to Instagram and Facebook and see if he could sell exclusivity to everyone.
Because that is exactly what it is, selling the idea that you are special without actually having to do anything other than pay $8 a month.
When Elon initially rolled out Twitter Blue, it was rightfully considered a disaster. Many Twitter Blue users pretended to be actual famous people’s Twitter and wreaked havoc in the internet streets, to the point that Daddy Warbucks himself had to get on the app that is the manifestation of his mid-life crisis and unimaginable disposable income and admonish his paying customers that breaking the rules is a no-no and will result in account suspension, good thing Elon is against banning free speech!
And let’s be real, the checkmark and all its elitism served a function.
While I want to consider the opinions of everyone, there are certain opinions which I may be inclined to value more. If I have a question about climate change or am in a discussion about it, I’m going to value the tweets of an actual meteorologist with a checkmark near their name over someone who says, “climate change is poopy,” in their bio. I guess you could say that the checkmark also helped me to know whom not to take seriously. In the case of the notable name, I know, depending on who they are, they may add something noteworthy to the conversation. Previously, either the people whom I follow will populate first or a notable name, but now it’s Twitter Blue users. The notableness behind a checkmark was clearly something to aspire to because if it weren’t, people would not have been so pressed about getting one in the first place, thusly causing this breakdown in the process from its very initiation.
Additionally, there are a couple of things that still perplex me about the situation.
How is a billionaire really the spokesperson for egalitarianism and using capitalism in order to do so? Elon’s appeal with Twitter Blue is that it is not expensive and that it gives everyone the opportunity to buy their own… equality.
How do you sell exclusivity to everyone? That’s not how exclusivity works. If part of the allure for checkmarks is that only a handful of people have/can get them, then what is the reasoning if we all were to subscribe? If Twitter Blue levels the playing field, then why do I see Elon’s do boys’ comments first? Because let’s be real, 80% of Twitter Blue subscribers are Andrew Tate stans, failed rappers and some porn stars.
Where is the equality for the rest of the commenters? In a world where the ring light has become more commonplace in the home than a refrigerator (clearly, I’m being hyperbolic), it might be time to really examine how social media has made us all think that we are somehow deserving of the world’s attention and that if we happen to get it, then that makes us somehow worthy of the world’s validation and verification.
As someone who is extremely active on social media, I do not want to sound like a hypocrite (especially since I am funny as hell,) but it feels like everyone is suffering from a rotten case of “me syndrome,” and while I am all for everyone feeling empowered, everyone doesn’t need a show or a checkmark.