I rarely update my Twitter display name, except maybe when I am on vacation and want to warn people that if you email me, I will either not see it or I will become very annoyed that you emailed me about NFTs. But I was convinced to add a little emoji to my name by Alex Cohen, an internet funny guy whom I’ve crossed paths with since the days of weird Facebook, Post Aesthetics and “Jeb! The Musical.”
“Why would i pay $8 to get a blue check if i could put a rat next to my name for free???” Cohen tweeted last week. “i’m calling on everyone to join me in becoming #RatVerified.”
To become “rat verified,” all you have to do is edit your Twitter display name and add a rat emoji. That’s it. You did it. You are now rat verified. Cohen’s tweet went so viral that it even reached TechCrunch’s own Alex Wilhelm, who is so disconnected from this corner of Weird Internet that I once had to explain “My Immortal” to him. The hashtag #RatVerified even reached No. 1 on Twitter’s list of trending topics in the United States.
Of course, Cohen is making fun of new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s boneheaded idea to charge users $8 per month to be verified, which has already imploded into a chaotic mess. But since impersonation has become so rampant with the advent of the “I paid Elon $8” variant of blue check — which looks the same as the “I am a public figure” blue check — Twitter is currently not letting verified users change their usernames.
Even Doja Cat, who had changed her display name to “christmas,” has pleaded with the Chief Twit to free her from perpetual festivity.
This whole rollout has been a mess — #tbt to yesterday when TechCrunch was Grey Check Official Super Double Verified for like two hours. And now as a result, what was supposedly a fleeting internet gag is now a bit more permanent. May my little rat friend prosper forever.