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Elon Musk on SNLCourtesy SNL

An open letter to Elon Musk from a concerned, verified Twitter user

I’d sooner give up my own life than my blue tick on Twitter – but don’t you DARE expect me to pay for it, writes James Greig

Dear Mr Musk,

I am writing to express my shock, horror and sadness at today’s announcement that you are planning to start charging people $20 a month to be verified on Twitter. 

When drawing up your little scheme, did you stop to consider that you would be destroying everything I’ve worked for? For folks like me, having a blue tick is so much more than just a symbol. At school, when I told my career advisor that I dreamed about one day having one, she burst out laughing in my face. “Do you really think Twitter is in the business of verifying people like you?” she sneered. “This isn’t Eton. Amassing a modest following with a Facebook meme page might be a little more your speed.”

When my mother returned home from work that evening and found me sobbing on the stairs, she attempted to console me. “Oh, my darling… who even cares about having a blue tick on Twitter anyway? That’s cuck shit,” she said as she stroked my hair. But what she didn’t say was that it would be possible. Not for someone like me: a plucky middle-class kid at a bog-standard comp in central Scotland. Years later, while I was at university, a group of my classmates created a Facebook group titled “James Greig, you will NEVER have a blue tick on Twitter”. But still, I didn’t give up. 

For years, I worked my arse off. I kept my eyes on the prize, repeating a daily affirmation. I started writing listicles for websites. Then finally, at long last, my efforts paid off. The day I saw that little check next to my name was the most joyous moment of my life. I can’t express to you how validating it was – like a little message from the universe saying “you are enough.” From that day forward, everything changed. I gained entry into a world of previously unimaginable glamour and luxury – I was like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, swaggering past the queue for an exclusive restaurant. Everywhere I went, people would whisper excitedly, “did you hear he got verified on Twitter?”

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses: I will admit that being inundated with invitations to fabulous parties and brand sponsorship deals grew a little tiring. But there’s no denying that getting verified transformed my life for the better. Back when I was still just a regular Joe, my financial advisor had told me I was ineligible for a mortgage, on account of the fact I didn’t have any money. But he quickly changed his tune when I showed him a screenshot of my snazzy new blue tick. Using it as collateral, I was able to purchase my first property, and I am now the proud helm of a vast buy-to-let empire.

This is what you are taking from me, Mr Musk. I hope it’s worth it. I hope you can find some way to sleep at night. Sure, I could sign up to pay $20 a month or whatever, but I’m not going to do that. First of all, I wouldn’t want people to know that I care so much about it – I think we can both agree that would be gauche! But more importantly, by making a blue tick something that any Tom, Dick or Harry can sign up for, you have robbed it of whatever status it once had. How are people supposed to know I’m more important than them now? Blue ticks should be reserved for famous celebrities: pop stars, Hollywood actors, and freelance digital content writers. Why would I pay for something at the precise moment when it has been rendered meaningless? 

My blue tick means everything to me, Mr Musk, but I’m willing to walk away if I have to – even though the moment this happens, I suspect Twitter will be flooded with dozens, if not hundreds, of accounts impersonating me. I guess I’m still holding out hope that deep within the frozen crevice of your heart, there is still some humanity left in you; that you might come to your senses and realise the monstrous cruelty of what you’re doing. But if not, you should know this: me and my 29,400 blue tick comrades ain't going to take this lying down.

The clock is ticking, Mr Musk…


James Greig