Twitter identifies and authenticates certain "notable" accounts by means of its famous verified badge -- the Holy Grail for any user of the social network. An American artist recently decided to propose the same service to homeowners in the San Francisco area -- a joke initiative that sparked genuine interest among some internet users.
As is often the way on the internet, it all started as a joke. American artist Danielle Baskin took to Twitter wondering about the origin of a decorative plaster shield she noticed adorning some of her neighbors' houses. "Is it purely ornamental, or did it once signify something about the house?" she wrote on the social network. The entrepreneur Adam Scheuring shared his take on the plaques, explaining that they were once a way of signalling the social status of the people who lived there -- a bit like Twitter today with its coveted blue badge, showing at a glance that an account is "authentic, notable and active."
Danielle Baskin then jokingly imagined a firm called Blue Check Homes, a mock service offering to decorate homeowners' properties with a white and blue crest signaling to the world that an "authentic and notable" person lives there. Prospective blue crest owners would supposedly pay US$2,999 and undergo a rigorous verification process, purporting to be extremely selective, according to the official website of Blue Check Homes. Indeed, don't expect to get a blue badge if you're not a prominent executive, thought leader, influencer, high-level athlete or actor with at least five production credits on your IMDB profile. "We may also remove the blue badge crest from your home at any point if you no longer meet our criteria. Removal will not incur additional charges," the website continues.
These conditions are inspired by the rules of the verification process for Twitter accounts, which the social network updated as of January 20. According to Danielle Baskin, many homeowners have already applied online to have their homes "verified" in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, faced with growing interest in the service, the artist decided to add a section titled "WTF Is This Real" to the Blue Check Homes website to highlight the fact that it isn't a real company. "Historically, decorative crests found on Victorian homes were a mark to signal wealth and importance and I thought it would be dumb if that concept also existed today. But if it existed today, would you need to be verified by a third party to signal status?" The success of Blue Check Homes seems to answer that question.