Since Saturday night, William Shatner has been complaining on Twitter about non-celebrities like social media representative John Colucci of AOL-owned Engadget having “verified” status on Twitter, because he feels they have not earned that distinction. He also feels that it makes the verified status mean less for people who are actually famous when anyone can pay some money or get a pass from their “cronies” to become verified.
Despite the fact that the main purpose of being verified on Twitter is to discredit and prevent Twitter accounts impersonating celebrities, Shatner feels that only truly famous individuals should be allowed to be verified at all, even when other verified users are only representing themselves. Shatner claims that some worthy celebrities are still waiting to be verified on Twitter while social media representatives and bloggers can parade around freely with the coveted blue and white check mark symbol next to their name, and Shatner feels that this is highly unjust.
Shatner’s ranting took a turn for the offensive when he went so far as to call verified non-celebrity Twitter users “nobodies.” As the conflict escalated, Shatner went even further to remark that Colucci’s employees, who are also verified on Twitter, should not be verified because they have “seemingly unimportant jobs,” noting that one verified Twitter user associated with Engadget doesn’t even work at the company anymore.
This name-calling and belittling of other Twitter users came off as arrogant and condescending to many of Colucci’s followers and other tweeters who came across the argument, many of whom took it personally and felt that Shatner was implying that they, too, were “nobodies” because they are not famous like him. Many shot right back that Shatner is not as famous now as he used to be, as his Star Trek days are long gone, and one person commented that being verified on Twitter is not in fact some sort of “special VIP club.”
Media outlets are reporting on Shatner’s Twitter tirade in a humorous manner, painting him as petty and obnoxious and playfully referring to him as “Captain Kirk” or “the captain of the USS Delusional Narcissism,” implying that he is performing as a comical character on Twitter rather than expressing his own personal thoughts as an individual. Shatner’s complaints about the “huge flaw in the Twitter system” have not been taken seriously, and he is being thoroughly mocked across the internet with sarcastic news articles and pictures of him as his Star Trek character or as the Priceline Negotiator from commercials.
In protest of his impression of Twitter’s loose verification policies, Shatner asked Twitter support to unverify his account because he didn’t want to be part of a “broken system.” His request was ignored, and Shatner excused himself from the internet to dream “sweet unverified dreams” on Sunday, but Shatner and several angry tweeters continued the argument into Monday. His Twitter account continues to be verified, much to his chagrin. Whether this faux pas will actually cost him anything, only time will tell.