When co-founder of Chattanooga Whiskey Company Joe Ledbetter answered his phone Monday, the voice on the other end of the phone said, “This is Kara, from Twitter.”

Ledbetter thought for sure it was someone who follows him or his company on Twitter, and he was surprised to hear that it was an employee of the real-time information and social media network.


He thought she had surely confused him with someone else, but that wasn’t the case.She called to discuss a verified Twitter account for Chattanooga Whiskey Company.

“She wanted to know about our story,” Ledbetter said. “I talked her ear off for an hour.”

A spokesperson for Twitter could not be reached Thursday, but according to the company’s website, a verified account is distinguished with a blue check mark, which establishes the authenticity of the account.

“The verified badge helps users discover high-quality sources of information and trust that a legitimate source is authoring the account’s tweets,” according to Twitter’s frequently asked questions about verified accounts.

Leaders with Twitter proactively verify accounts within key interest areas.

Who is verified?

-To see a list of the 42,346 verified Twitter accounts, look at Verified Accounts (@verified) on Twitter and see who that account follows. It follows all verified accounts, according to Media Bistro.

-The official account for the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (@Chattanoogafun) is verified.

-North Georgia native “American Idol” contestant and country music singer Lauren Alaina (@Lauren_Alaina)is also verified.

-Volkswagen USA (@VW), Gov. Bill Haslam (@BillHaslam), Little Debbie (@LittleDebbie), Former Chattanooga mayor Sen. Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (@RonRamsey) are all also verified.

In the instance of Chattanooga Whiskey, the Twitter representative who called Ledbetter said she was in charge of working with the company’s spirits division.

Twitter leaders concentrate on highly sought-after users, such as musicians; actors; fashion icons; government, business and religious leaders; and journalists, according to Twitter’s website.

They also verify accounts that are at a high risk of impersonation. Twitter leaders don’t accept requests for verifications from the general public.

And, as this Huffington Post article points out, getting verified doesn’t require a high number of followers. Chattanooga Whiskey had 1,868 followers Wednesday afternoon.

And, according to Beevolve.com, an account with the name SevenFootWave was verified with only four followers in 2009.

Ledbetter has a conference call scheduled Thursday and said he thinks the Chattanooga Whiskey account will be verified after that.

Although the company got its start on Facebook-Chattanooga Whiskey leaders asked Facebook friends, “Would you drink Chattanooga Whiskey?”-Ledbetter is active on Twitter, both personally and professionally.

And his social media style is more about engaging people, he said.

“We have no interest in Twitter followers; we want friends,” he said. “We don’t want to tell people to go follow us or drink our whiskey; we want to ask them. Asking those questions and engaging people is so much smarter.”