8 things I’d rather spend $20 a month on than a Twitter blue checkmark

Elon Musk officially owns Twitter now, which means, depending on your point of view, the end is near for the social media platform or else it’s just getting started.

I can’t see the future, so I don’t know, but I do know that The Verge is reporting that Musk is about to start charging $20 a month to stay verified and there’s no way I am spending $20 a month to have a blue checkmark next to my name on a website frequently referred to as “this hell site.”

What does the elusive blue checkmark of verification give a user? Well, I guess you get access to a couple teeny tiny features that I never use, and you get a sense of superiority, but is a sense of superiority really worth $20 a month? I have a three-year-old in my house who can’t even read yet. I get a sense of superiority every time I crack open a Mercy Watson book.

Unlike my three-year-old, I can add numbers bigger than 10, so I know that $20 times 12 months is $240. That’s a lot of money, especially when every single day someone mentions the word “recession” somewhere and not in the context of saying, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t own a house during the 2008 recession?”

So, instead of paying one of the richest dudes on Earth $20 a month for almost nothing, here are eight things that would be better to spend $20 a month on, according to me, a currently-but-probably-not-for-long verified Twitter user.

Ice cream

You can’t go wrong with ice cream in almost any circumstance and for $20 a month you can get yourself a cone every single week!


Every single one of us should probably be moisturizing a little more this winter. Spend that $20 on something that will actually make your body feel good, unlike doomscrolling.

Some stupid phone game

I recently re-downloaded Candy Crush in an effort to spend less time on TikTok because I could feel TikTok worming its way deep inside my skull and that was a bad feeling. If you need to zone out, why not zone out in a way that doesn’t also stress you out? I’m no doctor, but I do think a dumb phone game has to be better for your brain than a never-ending barrage of bad news.

A book

You know what’s even better than a game on your phone for a nice brain massage? A book! Try “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” or “The Namesake” or “Hamnet” or “Circe” or “Remains of the Day,” a few of my favorites from the last couple of years.

Community acupuncture

Yes, you probably can’t (and shouldn’t) get an actual massage for $20, but you can get sliding-scale acupuncture from Working Class Acupuncture, where you sit in a calm, dark room with other people and feel good afterward.

Sit in a hot tub or a sauna

If acupuncture isn’t your self-care of choice, Portland has a bunch of places you can get extra warm this winter. I wrote about several in 2019, some of which are still open and cost less than $20 for a soak or sauna.

Donate it

A lot of organizations would love $20 a month and they might actually do something good with it, like help people who aren’t in the top 1% of the top 1%, income-wise.

Subscribe to the newspaper

Wow, this is crazy but you can get the Sunday Oregonian delivered to your actual doorstep, on paper, in a bag so it doesn’t get wet, plus access to the newspaper online and subscriber-exclusive stories for less than $20 a month. Did you know The Oregonian has a whole team of people who spend every day digging into the stories that actually matter to people who live in Portland? Doggedly finding answers, even when the officials don’t want them to? And editors who pick which stories go where and make sure they are accurate and helpful? Wow wow wow. And there’s a whole page of comics? Advice columns and recipes? And no one harassing you personally, ever? Sold! Sign me up!

— Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052; lacker@oregonian.com; @lizzzyacker

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