#BlockTheBlue Trending – Will It Undermine Twitter Blue? - Social Media Explorer
#BlockTheBlue Trending – Will It Undermine Twitter Blue?
#BlockTheBlue Trending – Will It Undermine Twitter Blue?

On Monday morning, the hashtag #BlockTheBlue was trending on Twitter – at least before the news broke of Tucker Carlson’s ouster at Fox News. One could easily think the hashtag was a political one, directed towards blue states, or even at police.

This was not the case. It called on celebrities and other users of Twitter who have lost their blue legacy checkmarks to block anyone who is paying for Twitter Blue. The reports of high-profile Twitter accounts blocking these subscribers began last week.

Travis Brown, an independent researcher and data analyst, says that there are approximately 630,000 Twitter Blue users. Brown, a Twitter API subscriber who shared his numbers with the Twitter community on Friday, found out that, of the 407,000 legacy verified accounts active at first of this month, just 28 had subscribed for Twitter Blue.

Clearly, the majority of legacy users are refusing to pay up – and they’re fighting back as well.

Users with high profile, such as @dril who has over 1.76 millions followers on Twitter have started the campaign #BlockTheBlue. He doesn’t want to just disrupt Twitter. His goal is to wreck the platform.

Matt Binder, Mashable’s Matt Binder told @dril: “I actively support the demise of Twitter.” I hope to undermine their attempts to be profitable, however futile they may seem, with the hope that eventually, Twitter will close shop, and we can all get out of this sewer.

Can Celebrities BlockTheBlue and other?

The question is whether such an effort to BlockTheBlue – as in the service’s subscribers – could actually work. The bigger question, however, was whether Elon Musk – who acquired the company in 2014 for $44 Billion – ever thought that anyone would be willing to pay to have their identity verified.

Jason Mollica is a professoral lecturer at the School of Communication of American University. He said, “Since Musk has taken over Twitter, there’s been an unending firestorm of debate.”

Mollica continued, “This comes after he labeled outlets such as the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) and NPR a’state run media’.” This was an effort to monetize that coveted blue tick mark and I understand why people are up in arms. The legacy system used to prove that you are a real person, regardless of your words or posts. “Now it’s little more that a vanity licence plate.”

Mollica added that he doesn’t mean to disparage anyone – whether they subscribe to Twitter Blue or have a vanity license plate – but simply wanted to point out that he can also understand why some people are purchasing the check mark to build their brand.

He noted that “I think many of the people paying for the service simply want their tweets to appear higher on the feed.”

The Failed Attempt at Monetization

It doesn’t matter if the business is similar to vanity plates or a place for people to have their voices amplified. There may not be enough customers for it to work.

Twitter is challenged by the constantly changing social media market and the unpredictable boss. Susan Campbell, distinguished professor at the Department of Communication, Film, and Media Studies, University of New Haven, explained this.

“This whole blue check fiasco has laid bare algorithm/business issues that should be ironed out before – all due respect – any more dead people are granted verification. Campbell asked: “What does it tell us about our business model when Kobe Bryant receives a Blue Check?”

Campell suggested that Musk assumed that celebrities and other organizations would be willing to pay for verified status. This was probably true a few year ago when he first acquired Twitter, but it certainly wasn’t the case before.

Even wealthy celebrities will find other ways to spend their $8 monthly, she said. “When Twitter users are going on Twitter themselves to boast about not getting a check, that’s a sign of a serious problem”, added the expert.

Evolution of Twitter

Musk might be surprised to see the reaction that the removal legacy accounts has sparked, but celebrities and notable people have said for months that they won’t pay for it.

Twitter is further alienated from its original roots.

Mollica said, “We must remember that Twitter, while a social networking site, was created originally as a microblog where users could post short posts to encourage their readers to explore further beyond Twitter.” It has now evolved to include the sharing of images and videos.

In the process, the internet has become a powerful tool that allows those with fewer means to reach the public. It has also allowed the dissemination of false information and disinformation.

Mollica added, “Unfortunately people are now using Twitter for evil purposes. We should be concerned about people who can profit from it by purchasing the blue checkmark.”

Celebrities and high-profile users joining the campaign to block those with a blue checkmark will only ruin their perceived value. This certainly makes this seem all the more like the Dr. Seuess story “The Sneetches,” where those without green stars were able pay for the privilege – only for the stars to then lose their special status.

In this cautionary tale the Sneetches left broke, but not broken. Musk’s attempts to monetize the legitimacy of the platform may backfire more spectacularly.

Twitter will it stop using this move of Musk’s? Mollica replied, “Probably not.” Musk’s actions haven’t been helpful to the military.

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About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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