“How do I get verified on Twitter?”
This question was asked of me by a college student right after I delivered a keynote this fall. I had never been asked that question before and it caught me off guard.
Though I intellectually knew the answer of how to get the blue check mark you see on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (be a public figure, a media personality or journalist, top brand or business, professional athlete or sports team, etc.), the question made me curious.
“Tell me more about your question,” I responded. “Why do you want to be ‘verified?’”
The student hesitated and then responded. “To show that it’s me.”
“Is there another you that I should be aware of?" I asked. The student smiled.
“Well, no,” the student said.
“Well, what is it?” I asked.
“I just want to show that I’m important,” the student responded.
The word “important” stopped me in my tracks. I immediately felt like I knew this student and the validation he craved.
I remember moving to New York City a year after I graduated from college with $600 in my bank account and dreams of breaking into the television industry. My goal was to “be on tv.” For me, that was the equivalent of being verified.
The television thing happened for me and I had the opportunity to work with top networks. I signed my autograph for kids when I was co-host of a children’s television show. I worked with Grammy and Oscar award-winning performers. I interviewed top CEOs and entrepreneurs. My mother could turn on the television and watch me…
Yet, the funny thing is that in my 10 plus years in television, I never felt “verified.” I was craving something externally, that only could be found within.
Back when I was beginning my career, I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to “be on tv.” Today, I can tell you it was because I was craving validation. I wanted to feel important. I wanted to be somebody. I wanted to be anything but that insecure small town kid that lived inside of me.
I looked at the student and said, “Hey, I want you to know something. No blue check mark can ‘verify’ you. You verify you. You were verified the day that you were born. (Tweet this) Never forget that.”
The student nodded and thanked me for my time. I’m not sure that was the answer that he wanted to hear. But it was the answer that I needed to hear.
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