An Artist Jokingly Offered to Install Twitter-Style Checkmarks on Famous People’s Homes for $3,000. Lots of People Took It Seriously
The prank took on a life of its own after real applications for the emblem started rolling in.
It all started, as so many things do these days, with a jokey tweet exchange.
While out on a stroll, San Francisco artist Danielle Baskin found herself wondering about the decorative plaster shield she saw on some of her neighbors’ houses. “Is it purely ornamental,” she wondered in a tweet on Friday, “or did it once signify something about the house?” A tech investor piped up: “This was the blue check before twitter,” referring to the site’s way of denoting users with social status.
“Please someone (@djbaskin, obvi),” one user begged Baskin, “sell a plaster blue check for SF facades.”
Within hours of the request, Baskin posted a deadpan tweet about a firm, Blue Check Homes, offering the service.
“The blue verified badge on your house lets people outside know that you’re an authentic public figure,” the company’s site explains. “To receive the blue check crest, there must be someone authentic and notable actively living in the house.”
If you’re approved, the plaster crest will set you back $2,999.99. A disclaimer warns that if at some point in the future you are no longer up to snuff, the company will remove it. No additional charge for that.
The tweet quickly racked up nearly 20,000 retweets and tens of thousands of likes.
So who can apply for this brand new service? Prominent execs, influencers, and athletes representing well-known brands, as well as government officials. Also eligible: actors with at least 5 production credits on their IMDB profile.
Baskin really thought that last one would be a giveaway—Blue Check Homes, after all, was not a real company and its service did not exist. So How did Baskin come up with the arcane requirements for qualification? They’re exactly the same as Twitter’s actual requirements.
(By the way, an architectural historian has ideas about the meanings of the various crests adorning Bay Area homes, but they’re not funny, so, you know, whatever.)
Predictably, not everyone was in on the joke. Baskin quickly saw hundreds of applications roll in. Sure, one of them supposedly came from Kim Kardashian, but a lot, according to the artist, were honest-to-God requests.
Browse Baskin’s website and you’ll find plenty of other ideas that sound like they could have originated in a late-night social-media exchange with a few of your funnier friends.
Want your cover letter to get noticed? Stand out with one that’s five feet tall (the cover letter that covers everything!). And then there’s the Decruiter (“We’re like recruiters, but for quitting”).
Others pertain to the quirks of the tech economy and its fashions, like OneHoodie, which has swappable logos so you don’t need to own a sweatshirt for every company you like, or TouchBase, trading cards with the faces and stats of venture capitalists, or a yoga mat with your tech pitch printed on it, so you can drum up investors at the gym.
After so many people fell for the gag, Baskin ended up adding a “WTF is this real?” section to the site that spells out that she’s an artist, that the “company” arose out of a Twitter exchange, and that “Yes, I ALSO THINK THE IDEA OF VERIFIED BLUE HOUSE BADGES IS DUMB.”
But if you still want a blue check on your home, have at it.
“I’m also actually a sculptor and would totally make one for someone,” she explains, adding: “(IDK about pricing).”
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