Twitter verification for freelancers
Why is it so hard to get?
This is a tale of two freelancers. Both with the same journalism degree, graduating at the same time and working for 20 years as journalists.
They both have extensive experience, having had staff jobs and now freelance. Both teach journalism students at multiple universities but still make the majority of their income from writing news and features having had thousands of bylines.
Recently they both applied for Twitter verification at the same time, following almost identical processes and yes you guessed it, one got the blue tick and the other rejected.
And yes you probably also guessed we are talking about Freelancing for Journalists co-founders Lily and Emma. Their experience encapsulates why freelancers get so frustrated with Twitter’s seemingly nonsensical decision-making over who is granted a blue tick and who is deemed unworthy.
They had both first applied last year when the application process opened and were denied because their Twitter wasn’t linked anywhere. One of the things that is asked in the verification process is that your Twitter handle appears on an article. But this simply isn’t usual practice for many publications and is not something you as the freelancer have any say over or can change.
Then one day last month, Lily tried again and it worked. She had realised that the Twitter handles were included on the FFJ podcast page, so went through the process again using the podcast link. And success!
Yet when Emma tried this same process, she got a response within a few hours to say “This account will not be verified at this time because the evidence provided did not meet our criteria for notability.”
The only difference between the two submissions was that Lily provided three articles from more mainstream publications such as the Metro and Yahoo! Finance UK and Emma who currently does a lot of work for specialist titles included articles from publications such as the BMJ and Pulse. But these publications have blue ticks, as do their staff reporters. Emma checked this when deciding what articles to include.
Freelancers do seem to be very disadvantaged by the approach to blue tick verification which appears incredibly arbitrary. Both Emma and Lily have a very similar number of followers so this is not the reason for the different decisions. They both also have recent awards in their Twitter bios (as well as all other information filled out) and have been on the platform for a decade or more.
We asked Twitter to clarify why bylines written for publications that are verified don’t count - but had no response. Emma does intend to keep holding them to account on this because as a health journalist, Twitter is where a lot of stories are found and contacts made. But in the meantime do come along to the FFJ Facebook community and share your stories. What has been your experience? Does is it frustrate you that as a freelancer it is harder to get over the hurdles that Twitter has laid down?
On the podcast this week…
We’re talking all about blogging. Is it useful as a freelance journalist and how can you make it work for you? We chat to Andy Webb a freelance journalist who runs the award winning blog ‘Be Clever with your Cash’ and Marisa Bate, who was shortlisted for the inaugural Freelance Writing Awards for her newsletter and blog ‘Writing about Women’. To listen click the link below or find us wherever you get your podcasts!
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