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Respect me—I'm verified on Twitter

Source: Twitter

Ah, to be verified on Twitter. Everyone wants the recognition, but only a few are so privileged.

Verified Accounts were introduced to the social media service when former Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa was impersonated in 2009 to help identify and authenticate key individuals and brands on the platform.

With thousands of fake and parody accounts, seeing a deluge of lawsuits from unhappy celebrities was a real possibility. The blue check mark (or badge) of verification—featured prominently on users' profiles—was created to help avoid that problem.

The digital world has never been the same.

Twitter has awarded the seal to more than 54,000 accounts. That means more than 230 million of monthly active users are not verified—a fact that causes to sleep uneasily.

"I think it's gone to some people's heads," says Matthew Knell, vice president of social media and community strategy at About.com. "It really depends on the person. Some people just genuinely don't want to be spoofed."

Knell, who has yet to be verified, says having the special status would appeal to his ego but that he's focused more on sharing valuable content rather than on being considered "an influencer or an icon."

Do verified users enjoy perks that unverified ones don't?

Based on a review by CNBC.com, being verified on Twitter carries at least six real benefits, including a weekly email detailing the robustness of your account; the ability to hide conversations on your profile page; and verification on Vine, Twitter's video-sharing application.

Twitter declined to comment on the specific advantages of verification. (An unwritten rule at the company forbids employees from being verified. A handful of new workers at Twitter had to forfeit their badges before joining the flock.)

Those in the somewhat general public who have received the coveted check mark are often ecstatic.

"When I was verified, I texted my mother a screen shot of my blue badge and she literally texted back the word 'BALLIN,' in all caps," says Nicholas Megalis, an emerging musician and artist. "I'm dead serious."

Getting verified was important for Megalis because he had impostors.

"I want my fans to know that it's me talking and not some robot or middle-aged woman in Maine .. or both," he says.

Recently, Twitter began granting verification perks to all sorts of accounts, including ones belonging to midsize businesses and social media strategists.

"I have the same check mark as the Queen of Planet Earth—Lady Gaga," Megalis says. "And I'm literally some Greek kid from Cleveland. It's super weird."

While "the blue kiss" (as Megalis calls it) is exciting, it's important to understand that it doesn't necessarily equate with stardom.

"Just because you're verified, [it] doesn't mean you're famous," wrote former Huffington Post editor Craig Kanalley when Twitter planted the blue kiss on hundreds of digital cheeks in March.

But Megalis will take it. "It makes me feel good," he says.

And that may be the best perk of all.


By CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger. Full Disclosure: He's verified.

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