Beyoncé. Joe Burrow. POTUS. Dr. Chris Yandle of Zachary.
What do these people have in common? A coveted blue checkmark next to their account name on Instagram. That’s right, 70791’s own #DadLunchNotes is Insta-official.
Once reserved for social media royalty and household names, the verification symbol exists to authenticate real people and entities from fake accounts.
“I’m still amazed and surprised that I am verified on Twitter and Instagram because I think of myself as a boring dad who writes notes to his kids. I’m definitely no celebrity,” says Chris Yandle, Ph.D., who began slipping uplifting notes about life, school, or growing up into his daughter Addison’s lunchbox in 2017. The project went viral, turned into a book called Lucky Enough, and has been featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show, NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, several podcasts and as the subject of dozens of articles.
“I was verified on Twitter back in 2015 when I worked in college athletics. Back then, Twitter was verifying athletic administrators, coaches and athletes because there were fake accounts being created for those entities,” he explains. “As for Instagram, I wanted to seek a verification badge before they started their paid verified program. I had to submit my government ID (drivers license), SSN, and pertinent links to why I’m notable – news stories, podcasts, website, etc. To my surprise, I received a verification confirmation 48 hours later!” he says.
The LSU adjunct professor says he’s told his Social Media and PR Strategies class that he will never pay for verification. “I’m real, authentic, but I don’t need a monthly subscription for a blue check to stroke my ego,” he says. As a side note, Yandle doesn’t think social media platforms having verification subscriptions is a good idea. “You’re already seeing bad actors buying verification subscriptions to create fake accounts. Now these paid subscribers get pushed to the top of the analytics and searches which gives people the false impression that they are trusted sources. That’s why verification badges were created years ago – to authenticate real people because of the ability to create fake accounts,” he says.
Stay authentic, folks!