Are you a person of public interest? Twitter wants to hear from you!
For years, Twitter has verified the identity of some of its most publicly influential users by placing a small, blue check mark next to their name. It was never entirely clear how these people were picked — it seemed like you were either a movie star with a competent publicist or it was one of those “you have to know someone who knows someone” kinda things.
That is no longer the case. On Tuesday, Twitter started taking applications from users who want to verify their account.
You’ll need to send in some info as part of the application, like your birth date and phone number, and you need to have an actual photo on your profile. Twitter may require more verification, too, like a copy of a government-issued ID.
If it sounds silly that people might flock to Twitter to hand over things like their phone number and birthday for a small blue check, you might be right. But there are benefits, especially if you are a major celebrity or someone whom others on the service might want to impersonate. (This happens even if you are verified, and it can be tragic.) There are also lots of bot accounts on Twitter, and this can help separate the real people and organizations from the machines.
There’s also a bit of vanity about it. Only 187,000 people are verified on Twitter, out of 310 million. So a blue check mark is exclusive, and exclusive things are fun to have.
We still don’t know how Twitter picks which accounts are “of public interest” and which are not. Why are most Recode reporters verified, but some (*cough* Mark Bergen *cough*) not? It’s hard to say. But at least now you can apply and Twitter will let you know if you’re worthy or not.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.