“I literally still remember it like it was yesterday,” Laura recounted as a group of admirers sat on the edge of their seats, listening intently to the story.

 

“It was like 8 in the morning and I was laying in bed checking email just like any other day. And then I saw it.”

 

“The subject line read: Congratulations Laura. You’re officially Verified.”

 

“And then I saw The Blue Checkmark synced across all of my profiles and pretty much burst into tears right there on the spot. It was like opening presents on Christmas morning as I logged into every one of my accounts to see if The Blue Checkmark was there. And sure enough it was!”

 

“Wow. I can’t even imagine,” said one of the fans to the person next to him.

 

“I know right. I would die,” his friend replied.

 

Laura Teasley was traveling across America on her Verified tour, giving speeches to her followers and explaining the journey of how she went from middle-class suburbanite to social media sensation in just under 3 years, and the life-changing effect that getting Verified had on her.

 

“It’s all about the hard work, discipline, and motivation, people. And hey a little sex appeal never hurt anyone either,” Laura said playfully.

 

A photo of one of Laura’s top-performing posts appeared on the screen behind her as she spoke.

 

The audience broke out into applause as the photo of Laura’s ass in a cheekini overlayed with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. panned across the screen in Ken Burns effect.

 

“That one got 4 million likes!” One of the fans pointed out.

 

“Oh I know. I screenshotted it and saved it to the cloud,” another fan giddily replied.

 

It had now been 3 years since the social media conglomerate, FaceTwitSnap had bestowed upon Laura The Blue Checkmark.

 

“When FTS finally Verified me, it was like my life became a complete whirlwind.”

 

“My follower count exploded to 20 million in just a couple of weeks.”

 

“And what’s awesome is that The Blue Checkmark will sync across every one of your online accounts.”

 

“So when your Amazon account has it, you get your own personal shopping drone that will fly over and provide same-hour delivery on any product you want. I mean, talk about convenient.”

 

“When your Ticketmaster account has it, you always get first preference with VIP admission to any show you can think of.”

 

“When your Government ID card has it, bouncers always let you cut the line and get in no matter what. They want you in their VIP sections. And you never get charged for drinks or food anywhere because your presence as a Blue Check person is already great for business.”

 

“Banks pay you to use them. Companies want you to be the face of their products. TV shows and movies want you to make appearances. Believe me, life is good when you have The Blue Checkmark.”

 

It was true. The Blue Checkmark offered an exclusive set of benefits for The Verified, society’s elite class of billionaire tycoons, powerful politicians, and famous celebrities.

 

Everyone wanted to know and name-drop a Blue Check person at parties. Everyone wanted to sleep with a Blue Check person if they ever had the chance. Everyone wanted to be a Blue Check person.

 

Blue Check people just had a certain dominance and allure that The Unverified simply did not possess and could not even fathom.

 

And that’s why The Unverified paid so much money to attend these kinds of seminars.

 

Laura continued her speech as a smirk began to appear on her face, “But tonight isn’t just about me. It’s about showing how YOU can get Verified too.”

 

The audience eagerly applauded. Tickets to the Verified tour were priced at $9,997 a head. People had traveled from all across the country to hear Laura’s talk that promised to give them insider tips on how they too, could one day become Verified and receive the coveted Blue Checkmark.

 

Chad Dixon, a 32-year-old financial analyst from Denver had saved up for almost 6 years to attend the Verified tour.

 

Zara Miller, a 21-year-old student/model/actress/YouTuber/Make-up artist from Los Angeles had taken her last few months of arrangement allowance and used it to purchase a ticket.

 

And Belle Rivens, a 25-year-old waitress who just so happened to live a few blocks from where the speech was taking place, won a ticket from taking a random Buzzfeed survey which entered her name into a raffle.

 

Belle didn’t really follow Laura Teasley like the other attendees did but figured she may as well check out the speech.

 

Laura strutted across the stage and all eyes were on her as she asked the audience a question.

 

“Okay so where are my Yellows at? Raise your hand if you already got The Yellow Checkmark.”

 

A small number of hands went up, including Chad Dixon’s. He had spent years working diligently, saving up, networking with the right people, and doing everything he could to get his Yellow Checkmark.

 

“That’s great! You’re already way ahead of the curve.”

 

In the early days of social media, the power of The Blue Checkmark had begun to erode as more and more people started getting Verified. Once the internet had been around for several decades, a new system needed to be implemented for a society in which over a million people had become “famous”.

 

This prompted a new partnership between the major social media platforms, multinational corporations, and government organizations to implement a tiered system of color-coded checkmarks to keep the social order more structured and manageable.

 

Thus, The Check System was born and enabled the various classes of people to be more easily managed.

 

Checkmarks also worked as extremely valuable rewards that motivated Americans to work longer hours at their jobs. Multinational corporations embraced The Check System and were happy to spend advertising dollars to promote it. It didn’t take long for companies to realize that instead of paying employees cost-of-living adjustments, they were able to keep wages flat by introducing a new form of compensation, Checkpoints. Checkpoints could be saved up and used to purchase some of the lower-tier Checkmarks.

 

The Yellow Check was the entry-level checkmark and first step towards attaining the Blue Checkmark of true Verification.

 

In order to be a Yellow Check, there were several prerequisites that had to be met before someone could apply.

 

An applicant needed 10,000 followers on at least two social media accounts, a clean background check, 100,000 Checkpoints (which had a USD value of $5,000), and surrender of all passwords to personal accounts so that government auditors could ensure browsing history and internet activity did not raise any red flags.

 

Over 33 million Americans had The Yellow Check. They were considered the top 10% of the nation.

 

“Okay now let’s see the Oranges!” Laura shouted.

 

Only four people in the room raised their hands, one of them Zara Miller. Everyone in the room looked over their shoulders to admire the semi-famous Orange Check people.

 

The process for getting an Orange Checkmark was at least 100,000 followers, 1,000,000 Checkpoints ($50,000 USD), and 3 letters of recommendation from 3 Green Check people.  

 

The Green Checks were America’s top 1%. Green Check people didn’t need to attend seminars like this. They were basically Verified already.

 

In order to get a Green Checkmark, you needed over a million followers, 10 million Checkpoints ($500,000 USD) or 1 letter of recommendation from a Blue Check person.

 

The Blue Checks were the top 0.1%. Becoming a Blue Check person was by invitation only. There was no application process.

 

Belle Rivens scrolled through the news feed on her phone as Laura gave a comprehensive overview of The Check System.

 

Belle had never really cared for the whole Verification scene that seemed to captivate her generation. She was fine with being Unverified and didn’t see much of a point in chasing status.

 

She was even starting to lose interest in the speech and thought about ducking out early. But then Laura Teasley said something that caught her interest.

 

“Oh wait, there aren’t any Red X’s here right?” The audience started laughing at Laura’s obvious joke.

 

The Red X’s were people who had been banned from participating in The Check System.

 

Having a Red X meant you were always bound to have trouble getting into bars, nightclubs, or even being served at restaurants. If it was discovered that someone was a Red X, they would often immediately be asked to leave the premises.

 

The vast majority of businesses would refuse to provide their goods and services to Red X people.

 

Since getting a good job was impossible, the Red X’s of America were typically homeless lepers that nobody dared associate with. They were the dregs of society.

 

Getting slapped with The Red X was a fate worse than death for most Americans.

 

Belle had recently seen a Netflix documentary on what life was like for Red X people and she couldn’t help but be sympathetic for the horrible conditions they had to endure. Many were forced to start their own small settlements out in the middle of nowhere since society at large had no place for them. Some of the people interviewed had even gone from High-status Checks to Red X’s, all because they made enemies with the wrong people.

 

But Belle’s daydreaming came to an abrupt end when Laura said something that caught her off guard.

 

“So remember, The Check System works for us just as much as we work for it. It rewards people for working hard and for giving back. It drives our economy. And it gives us a sense of purpose.”

 

“You all have paid a lot of money to be here. You’ve traveled from across the country. You’ve given a lot to The Check System and we want to reward that. So I’ve got some exciting news for you!”

 

The audience was on the edge of their seat. They had known all along that this part was coming. It was a big motivating factor for them to save up so much money for a ticket to the speech.

 

It seemed that Belle was the only one in the room who didn’t know what was happening. And she was shocked to hear what Laura said next.

 

“I’m excited to announce that one very lucky person in this room, Belle Rivens, has been selected for the opportunity to go from being Unverified to becoming a Blue Check… tonight!

 

 

To be continued….

 

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