Since the introduction of the blue verification tick on Twitter back in 2009, the symbol has acted as a marker of the on-platform elite.
Reserved for celebrities and public identities, the verification tick was originally introduced to tackle the problem of celebrity impersonators but has since become something of a badge of honor.
Indeed, many a "guru" and "influencer" has lamented the fact that they've not been verified and have no avenue through which to apply for such - while, at launch, all users could send through their credentials to apply for their own verification tick, Twitter's since removed that option, likely because of an influx of non-worthy users applying for the mark in an effort to boost their status.
As such, the only way to get verified in recent times has been to wait and hope that Twitter notices you - this image of Kevin Hart at a Beyonce concert pretty much sums it up.
But now Twitter's had a change of heart - for reasons which are not totally clear, Twitter's today announced that they're re-opening the application process for verified accounts.
As per Twitter:
"Our goal with this update is to help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for creators and influencers - no matter where they are in the world - to easily connect with a broader audience."
This was supported by an accompanying statement from Twitter Vice President of User Services, Tina Bhatnagar:
"We hope opening up this application process results in more people finding great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for these creators and influencers to connect with a broader audience."
So it seems like an appeal on two fronts - for users, by highlighting more high-profile, and ideally high-quality, accounts, Twitter's hoping they'll get more out of their on-platform experience and come back to Twitter more often. For creators and influencers, they'll get a chance to move into the "Tweet Elite", which will no doubt better ingratiate them with the platform (and, Twitter would be hoping, get them tweeting more often).
But at the same time, opening up the application process does remove some of the exclusivity of the verified badge. I mean, maybe it doesn't, maybe Twitter won't relax its rules at all and the process will be totally the same, other than through the addition of an application process. But then again, the only logical reason to open it up would be to add more people to that high profile group, and that'll likely require Twitter to loosen the parameters, at least a little.
For reference, currently, only 0.06% of Twitter's 310 million monthly users are verified.
And also worth noting, and as pointed out by The Next Web, while the verified badge can boost your on-platform status, its functionality outside of that is minimal:
"Aside from the badge, it doesn't fundamentally alter the Twitter experience or provide any features aside from a verified-only notification system that lets you filter replies to show only verified accounts."
That verified filtering system is designed to help celebrities keep their Twitter experience free of over-enthusiastic fans and common folk, enabling them to maintain relationships with their other famous friends via tweet - which, despite not having a way into the conversation, is still great for regular users.
Case in point - the recent duel between Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift.
That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet. pic.twitter.com/4GJqdyykQu- Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 18, 2016
Think you're worthy of that blue tick?
The application process is actually very simple - first, click on this link and go through the requirements as listed.
Down the bottom of the info screen is another link which you can click to be taken through to the actual application screen where there are prompts to take you through the process.
You enter in your details, including supporting URLs, an explanation of why you want to be considered for a verified account (500 characters max) and a photo of your license or passport to prove who you are. After you click submit, your application's transferred to the relevant approving body in Twitter - you'll be notified of your application status via e-mail.
It'll be interesting to see if there's a sudden influx of verified accounts as a result of this change. If there is, as noted, that could dilute the exclusivity and importance of the feature, which would be a significant risk on Twitter's part. But ideally, the option enables Twitter to recognize a few influential users who've been calling for a checkmark, while also working to highlight more relevant people to follow for users.