About a year or so, I was asked to verify my Twitter profile.

Given Twitter’s stance that accounts should be of the public interest and that the program is theoretically restricted to “highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas”.

I thought someone had made a mistake.  I mean, I’ve done the Silicon Valley startup thing now with my small business, but it’s just that: a small business.  There’s no 1,000% monthly growth here, just small tweaks, stops and starts and an e-commerce business that pays the bills.

That being said, part of the verification process is supposed to encourage interaction with high-quality accounts and I think mine counts there, I’m probably more chatty on the platform on more topics than I should be.

So, ego being what it is, I went through the verification process which is now open for applications if you aren’t contacted.  You’ll be asked to name a few websites that show you, at work, theoretically doing important stuff.  Like reporting on the war in Syria, or selling wine (evidently).

Being verified on Twitter does make using then platform easier and it does end up opening up a slew of others doors for you, it’s well worth your time and effort.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned about a year into my verified status:

1. You’ll Get a Fancy New Tab in Your Notifications

If you’ve ever wondered why it seems that verified accounts tend to interact with other verified accounts, this is partly the reason.

Anyone who has been on Twitter for a while knows that things can get crowded with notifications, especially once you have a few hundred or thousand followers. Having the separate notification tab for verified accounts keeps that separate and for many of us, pretty well maintained.

Really, this is the biggest difference I noticed when my account was verified, interacting with other verified accounts became incredibly easy.

2. Your Responses Go At the Top of Threads

Twitter is understandably obtuse about how its algorithm works in terms of showing responses to others’ Tweets.

But, one thing they’ve been very, very clear on is that responses aren’t strictly chronological, but instead are curated. The result?  If you want their filters to curate your Tweets more often, verification is a neat trick.

3. You’re More Likely to End Up in Twitter’s Moments:

Most users don’t realize that Twitter’s Moments can be created by anyone.  From a branding and conversation perspective, these are a good tool.

Here’s Twitter’s intro:

A couple of weeks back, I made a  political comment that someone added to a moment.  If you’re wondering about the reach of this stuff:

Tweet Engagement from Twitter Moments

As you can see, what amounts to 15 seconds of effort, led to over 50,000 impressions and 44 clicks on my profile, each of those people suddenly becoming aware of my small business.

To put that in perspective, if I were to run a Google Adwords campaign for my business, because I’m in an extremely competitive vertical it would cost me something along the lines of $300 to match that level of outreach and attention.

4. You Get Analytics

Quite honestly, I don’t use their analytics platform much.  Maybe if I thought I could sell stuff directly on the platform I’d worry about it more, but as it stands, it’s simply a bunch of rather interesting data.

But, it is interesting to see how many people you actually can reach and which times you can reach the most people or your most engaged followers.

Here are the basics of your dashboard:

Twitter Analytics Dashboard

Hootsuite has a good guide on Twitter Analytics for marketers, but for me….I’m happy to look for real engagement on real issues as they come up.  I don’t want to overly plan this, after all, a social network is supposed to be social.

5. The Trolls WILL Notice You

So this was one unexpected part to me, being verified seemingly does put a target on your back.

I don’t know if its because I’m not a household name, or because I tend to wade into a wide variety of topics on the platform, many of which don’t have anything to do with my small business (a wine of the month club called Uncorked Ventures) including politics, sports, the wider state of journalism, parenting and more…..but almost every day, it seems someone really, really wants to get into a huge argument that they’re going to “win”.

The most egregious case was a few weeks back.  I was trying to have a discussion about immigration (I know this is ripe for arguments) and ended up quoting an Israeli politician.  For quoting Benjamin Netanyahu, I was called an Anti-Semite which seemed strange for a few reasons.  First, I’m not. Second, I was literally agreeing with him, even if I don’t all the time.

If I’ve learned anything, not feeding the trolls is difficult at times.  I tend to engage more than I should.  But, at some point simply using the block button is the best thing you can do. It’s weird when people decide to come after you, for a seemingly innocuous comment, but that’s part of the deal with a small check mark next to your name.

Lastly, a word of warning.  They do take away verified status.  While the small number of accounts that have had status pulled for breaking the Twitter terms of service get most of the attention, if you’re no longer part of the public discourse, that’ll get your badge pulled as well.

As an example, someone who used to write about a MLB team moves to cover a minor league team, lost his badge, much to his amusement.