Blue checkmarks, gold checkmarks — whatever color it is, Elon Musk is getting Twitter wrong

Billionaire inventor and all-around weirdo Elon Musk recently bought Twitter.

Musk reportedly put a lot of people out of work, then asked some of them to come back, and told everyone they would have to work hard if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Musk should buy some newspapers. That’s how the corporate chains do business: cut jobs and constantly threaten the jobs of the remaining employees.

I don’t work for Twitter, and to borrow a line from Mark Twain, I shall try to do right and be good so God will not send me there.

I did not think, however, Musk could lay me off, but I think he’s trying.

I am a verified Twitter user. That means there’s a blue checkmark next to my name.

I got this when I worked as a full-time paragraph stacker.

The bosses went through some behind-the-scenes process with the Twitter gurus to ensure journalists were verified and their tweets would be considered trustworthy.

It turned out nobody trusted journalists regardless of what kind of checkmark followed their tweets.

When the poohbahs at the Gannett outlet store in Des Moines sent me packing, they collected my employee ID and laptop, but not the blue checkmark on my Twitter account.

I’ve remained this verified rogue able to tweet wild things such as, “You know I’m trying to remain optimistic, but I just don’t think the 3-13 Chicago Bears are going to make the Super Bowl this year.”

Eight people liked this. Two people commented on it.

Behold the social media power of Finney, verified tweeter.

One of Musk’s ideas for making Twitter profitable was to give blue checkmarks to anyone who paid $8 a month for a different level of Twitter service.

For $8, I can get a pepperoni pizza at Little Caesars.

It might not be the best pizza money can buy, but it’s defiantly better than paying for the VIP room on Twitter.

My blue checkmark is on the way out, reports say.

For now, if you hover over my blue checkmark, it says “This is a legacy account. It may or may not be notable.”

Hilariously, it says the same thing when you hover over Taylor Swift’s blue checkmark.

For the record, she’s notable — at a minimum.

Am I notable?

No, no I don’t think I am. I stacked paragraphs for most of my working life. But I was not notable.

I did a good job, but I was never the favored son or the award winner.

Near the end of my career, when all this social media nonsense became critical to my survival as a reporter, I became grumpier and recalcitrant.

I stayed away from the bosses’ pet projects and was colder and unwelcoming to the young journalists who I knew would outlive me.

Now I’m trying to figure out who am as a teacher. It’s hard but hardly notable.

The only time checkmarks play a role in my life these days is when I’m grading tests or one of my supervisors is evaluating me to see if I’m living up to the district standards.

Now Twitter has gold checkmarks for businesses. The Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs), for example, have a gold checkmark.

If you hover over the gold checkmark, it says “This account is verified because it’s an official business on Twitter.”

Fair enough.

I was surprised to see Musk still had a lowly blue checkmark. But he’s modeling the new blue.

Hover over his blue checkmark and it reads, “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue.”

As the owner of the company, I hope Musk at least gets a discount.

He reportedly lost $200 billion in personal wealth last year. With just $183 billion left, he might need to start clipping coupons.

All this checkmark stuff is nonsense anyway.

Twitter has proven itself a terrible way to communicate anything except rage and anguish.

That’s true of all the other media, too.

Someday, the gold checkmarks will be replaced by platinum, then periwinkle, burnt sienna, and so on until they go through the whole box of 120 Crayola Crayons.

None of it will matter. It never mattered. If you use Twitter or any other social media for anything but amusement, you’re being silly.

Social change does not come from hashtags. It comes from voting, changes in power, and court decisions.

Younger readers, if there is such a creature, may disagree. Feel free to tweet your well-reasoned argument at me (@newsmanone) in 280 characters or less.

For now, however, I remained as possibly noteworthy — or not — as Taylor Swift.

And if that’s not amusing, I guess somebody will just have to throw a pie in Musk’s face.

Middle school Daniel P. Finney is a Marion County Express columnist. Reach him at

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.

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