If you’ve ever wondered what the blue check mark next to a Twitter user’s name stands for, it means they’re a verified user – a “who’s who” of Twitter. According to Twitter, “Verification is currently used to establish authenticity of identities of key individuals and brands on Twitter.” This helps users interact directly with well-known people and brands who use Twitter.
So, just who are these verified users, and what industries are they in? Haje Jan Kamps, CEO of Triggertrap, made a report determining who the verified users of Twitter are (via Medium). Kamps mentioned that Twitter verification helps “protect and highlight users who were particularly at risk of getting impersonated.”
According to Kamps, there are about 150,000 verified accounts on Twitter out of 300 million active users, or 0.05 percent of all Twitter users. A quarter of these verified accounts belong to journalists and other media personalities. Around 18 percent belong to sports teams and athletes, 13.6 percent are actors and entertainers, 12.7 percent are either companies or businessmen, 12 percent are musicians and bands, 6.8 percent are media outlets, 6.5 percent belong to governments and non-government organizations (NGOs), 3.1 percent are shows and movies, and bringing up the rear are politicians at 2.9 percent.
Although journalists make up a quarter of verified users, musicians have the most followers. Musicians average around 1.4 million followers, compared to the journalists’ modest follower count of 140,000. Media outlets, due to the nature of their business, average the most tweets despite only making up 6.8 percent of all verified users. Businesses come in a distant second, despite increasingly turning to social media to facilitate customer service.
The most followed verified accounts tend to be celebrities. Seven musicians made the top ten, such as Katy Perry (70.1 million, first), Justin Bieber (64.1 million, second), Taylor Swift (57.9 million, fourth), Lady Gaga (46.8 million, sixth), Rihanna (45.8 million, seventh), Justin Timberlake (45.6 million, eighth), and Britney Spears (41.9 million, tenth). While politicians rank dead last in number of verified accounts, one, President Barack Obama (59.6 million, third), made the top ten. YouTube (51.1 million, fifth) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (43.6 million, ninth) make up the rest.
Interestingly, Twitter’s own account didn’t even make the top ten in terms of followers (39.6 million, 11th), and the highest-ranking athlete, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, is in the 13th spot (35.7 million). The top business executive that Twitter users follow is Microsoft founder Bill Gates (22.2 million, 30th).