Pandemic Goal #4: Get Verified on Twitter

My goals for surviving the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Don’t get infected
  2. If infected, don’t infect others
  3. If infected, don’t die
  4. Get verified on Twitter
  5. Get rock-solid abs.

I know that many of you reading this post will agree that, in these times when it is critically important to know who we’re tweeting at and who’s tweeting at us, the blue verification check next to your Twitter handle will make a substantive difference to your online existence. Which, during these times, is more important that your real life.

According to Twitter, “The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.”

From my personal experience, Twitter overpromises on its granting of those coveted blue badges with the cute white check marks.

At one point in my life, I was employed as a government spokesperson. In my work, I acted as an official conduit of information to the public and the media. My words represented the position of three administrations. I was quoted in newspapers, interviewed on radio, and occasionally appeared on television. My name, telephone number, and email address were posted on a website ending in .gov. I wore a suit to work every day (except Casual Friday, but that’s another story) because I had to be prepared to represent the government in front of a camera. Did Twitter verify my account when I asked? Hell, no.

While I was employed as a government spokesperson, I applied to get my boss’ Twitter account verified. My boss was a Senate-confirmed cabinet secretary. This Twitter account was used ONLY for government purposes: providing the media and the public information about our agency and programs, promoting consumer protection information, and providing insights into the industries our agency regulated. Did Twitter verify this account when I asked? Hell, no. At least not a first. I had to poke and poke and poke Twitter until they finally gave up and granted this official government account the blue badge.

My reminiscences are pretty accurate and not violations of Section 302 of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities Code:

So, one might imagine that Twitter’s standards for account verification are, shall we say, spotty. At this point in my life, I can accurately state that I am engaged in several activities that should qualify me for verification. Evidence:

  • Google “Edward A. Novak III” and my LinkedIn profile is the #1 result, just above “Novak found not guilty.” Just to be clear, the innocent Novak is someone else.
  • I am the founder of the indie band The Stan Smiths (named after my favorite tennis player when I was a kid). We have not recorded in a while, but we’re on Facebook:
  • I have performed with the Harrisburg Improv Theatre, co-starred with my ex-wife in an original production of a play depicting life in the 19th century at Market Square Presbyterian Church, which was reviewed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News; and performed a one-man show inspired by the work of the late Spalding Gray:
  • Have you seen the study of the self-portrait I painted? See:
  • I produced and edited the film “The 95 Feces,” which was shown at the Harrisburg Film Festival and has more than 130 views on YouTube:
  • My Instagram @ThirdEdNovak chronicles the odd and intriguing sights I witness in my life
  • Other Key Areas: I have edited books such as “Artful Partners” by the late scoundrel Colin Simpson, which was reviewed by John Updike in the New York Times Book Review, and “Uniting Work and Spirit” by Chet Williamson, the official history of Elizabethtown College. I have written articles for Central PA magazine and Elizabethtown magazine. And I have this freakin’ blog,

So, I ask you, Twitter: how much more verified can one be?

Also according to Twitter: “Please note that our verified account program is currently on hold. We are not accepting any new requests at this time.”

If there is one maxim by which I live my life, it is “if there is a will, there is a way.” The coronavirus pandemic has given me the will, because, as our fearless President likes to ask: “What do you have to lose?”

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