Update (4/24/15): Twitter has added an official verification request form. Link: Twitter Verification Request.
The Quest for the Check
Since I started as the Communications Coordinator for the City of Appleton, WI, I’ve been trying to figure it. Like Indiana Jones chasing the Holy Grail…close, but never quite there.
Of course, the Holy Grail wasn’t what I was after. It was that magical blue check mark Twitter uses to let the masses know you are “verified.” It’s essentially Twitter’s way of telling everyone that you are who you say you are. The beautiful blue check mark is a coveted prize sought by many Twitter users. While the check mark is sought by many, the process for becoming verified is as mysterious as the Holy Grail.
What I Knew About Verification…..Nothing
In my previous life as a TV news reporter, I never sought to have my account verified. I had heard lots of stories and rumors about how the process works but heard little of substance.
Therefore, I entered my recent quest with limited knowledge on the Twitter verification process. I knew that is seemed to be a random process in which Twitter users had little control over. I poked around Twitter to tips for getting verified. This yielded little information.
My desire for getting the Appleton account verified was an effort to maintain our brand. We want to be the official voice of Appleton. A verified account helps makes this case.
A few ELGL members, Wisconsin local government friends (@_JRHEALY) and (@GailSumi), and I tried using the hashtag #verifylocalgov to raise awareness about the process. This yielded little information.
The Veil Is Lifted
My verified effort was not making much headway until I participated in a webinar with Luke Stowe, Digital Communications Coordinator for the City of Evanston, IL. Luke made a brief mention about the verification process and offered to discuss more it in an offline conversation.
In talking to Luke, he pulled back the veil of secrecy which turns out is not much of veil. Similar to most things in life, it’s about who you know. The key to the verification process is knowing who to contact at Twitter. And I can help you with that.
Send an email to [email protected] from your government email address. You should include a brief explanation that you are interested in verifying your local government account. A Twitter representation will respond asking for additional information similar to this:
Name of Government Agency: City of Appleton, WI
Twitter Handle: @cityofappleton
Contact Person 1: Chad Doran – [email protected]
Contact Person 2: Dean Fox – [email protected]
Contact Person 3: Add a third person if possible…although Luke added a 3rd, I just added a 2nd and that worked
Link to page displaying our Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/cityofappleton
That’s basically it. You may get an email back asking to verify that the email address you use for a login to the account is also a (.org) account. They are just checking to make sure it is not a gmail, or hotmail, or yahoo account. Then about a week later you’ll get the magical email in your inbox:
Verified, Now What….
A couple more notes from my experience. Once your account is verified, be prepared for a wave of new followers. Twitter says this is to be expected. The City of Appleton account received more than 100 new followers in the days after the magic check mark appeared on our account. The majority of our new followers were not local.
Before you start celebrating your newly verified account know that verified accounts are bigger targets for hackers. You can fight by establishing a strong password.
Here’s hoping your journey to #verifylocalgov isn’t nearly as adventurous as an Indiana Jones movie!
Editor’s Note: Show your appreciation for Chad’s willingness to share by following the Appleton’s Twitter account.