If you’re old enough to remember, some prime-time television stars (Roseanne Barr) were credited using only their first names. I’m not really sure how one ‘officially’ reached such plateaus of stardom regarding 80′s television, but if you’re exceptionally ‘down’ in today’s pop culture and social media world, Facebook will dial-up your account asking you to confirm your ‘alternate’ identity (a nickname, brand name, well-known moniker or otherwise).
A Tech Crunch post explains Facebook’s (starting today) intentions of changing how stars and ‘big names’ label accounts, allowing their (better known?) names to stick. For instance, if I asked you if you’re friends with Calvin Broadus you may look at me awkwardly, thinking that’s an odd question? Why would you know Calvin Broadus? What if I asked if you knew him by his pop-culture name, Snoop Dogg? With Calvin’s Snoop’s permission and conformity to the verification process, he can officially (through Facebook) change his name. From Tech Crunch post:
There’s no way to volunteer to be verified, you have to be chosen. These users will be prompted to submit an image of a government-issued photo ID, which is deleted after verification. They’ll also be given the option to enter an “alternate name” that can be used to find them through search and that can be displayed next to their real name in parentheses or as a replacement.
So, what gives? It’s likely most of us are not dropping an album like it’s hot or being asked to make a spectacle of the National Anthem (and ourselves?) before a baseball game, reaching the kind of heights warranting Facebook’s (Did you catch Ken Wisnefski’s discussion of the newest Facebook application?) verification prompt.
If your brand’s executives (or one of your marketing clients) are well known, you may want to prompt them to go along with the verification switch. Why? Just as I displayed above with Snoop, consumers are more likely to search for a pop-culture reference than a person’s birth-given name. If Snoop Dogg adheres, “Snoop Dogg” will appear more often in ‘Subscribe’ suggestions (Facebook has 8x more subscribers than Twitter), increasing his chances of accumulating more subscribers (Snoop Dogg raises more ears than Calvin Broadus, right?)
With Facebook’s asymmetrical follow feature, Snoop doesn’t have to worry about befriending subscribers; in a one-sided fashion, subscribers can keep up with the lowdown on Snoop. However, Facebook doesn’t currently symbolize ‘verified’ accounts (like Twitter), which could cause confusion.
Facebook workers are aggressively pushing the new process, contacting ‘worthy’ personalities. As the Tech Cruch post suggests, Facebook’s ‘Subscribe’ feature threatens the wingspan of Twitter’s long-term growth. The new shift could significantly impact how users engage social media and pursue information related to popular celebrities and brand names. It will be interesting to track the progress of Facebook’s latest maneuver.