After recently becoming one of the few UK university libraries to obtain Twitter blue tick account verification, I wanted to share our insights and experience with other libraries who may want to pursue verification of their own institutional library accounts.
Get the basics right first
Before you reach for the application form to get verified, first check your account meets the basic requirements, including adding a verified mobile telephone number to the account. Work mobile phones come in very handy for this but you can use any mobile phone you own that is not already registered with another Twitter account. The next most important thing is to ensure your account is healthy, with a little new and/or evergreen content tweeted every day and plenty of interaction with your followers in the days leading up to the time you apply for account verification. A healthy, active account that looks every bit what Twitter wants from accounts is best placed to succeed.
Twitter have produced a comprehensive guide – just don’t be put off by the long list of things they want. Most of them you will almost certainly already have, and if not, adding them can only help grow your following, impact and confidence in your brand presence. Make sure you tick the box to declare the account is an organisational account when you apply. Individuals can also seek blue tick verificationon Twitter (and in certain unusual cases on Facebook), which might be useful if you are a librarian who uses their professional Twitter feed as an enquiry handling channel. We cannot comment on the process for individuals because we have not yet attempted it, save to say that there is plenty of free and fairly consistent advice on doing this available on the web.
Make your application
The next part is the interesting bit. You have to submit a very short statement (500 characters, which is around 3.5 tweets worth) introducing your library, why you want your account verified, and why you warrant verification. The statement I submitted was that:
Portsmouth University Library provides a responsive, innovative, client-led and cost-effective service, supporting teaching, learning, research and the development of over 22,000 students, staff, and our local community. Our scholarly and professional articles demonstrate our impact on library practice. Now with over 4,700 followers, we seek account verification before making Twitter a core enquiry channel, so our clients can recognise and trust our Twitter handle as they do our brand.
Back up what you say with links to the best available online evidence
Perhaps more important still, is the choice of up to six web addresses you should include to establish that your library exists and makes an impact. First and foremost you need to prove you are from the library you claim to represent. To do this I included links to our Library homepage and the University of Portsmouth institutional knowledge base, MyPort, which featured a prominent link pointing to the University Library. This demonstrated beyond doubt that the library website I had included was the officially recognised library website of the University of Portsmouth. The other four links I chose in an attempt both to demonstrate our authenticity and our impact on the world around us, including:
- a recent peer-reviewed case study journal article highlighting practice based innovation and the impact of the library on the wider profession;
- a page from the architects’ website showcasing their design for the most recent extension to our library building;
- the online advertisement page from a small company announcing its books were on display in our library;
- an article in a local newspaper celebrating a charity event held by staff.
Coming from disparate sources and demonstrating we had a physical presence, an impact on our profession, local businesses and our local community all helped us earn verified status for our account.
Wear your badge with pride
Once you have verified status, of course, you have to behave like the model account you are. After all, from the moment you get the blue badge, @TwitterVerified will be watching over your feed. It is certainly helping to motivate us to make sure all our contact details, photos and content stay as up to date, interesting and interactive as possible!