Do You Really Own Your Twitter Account?
1:45 pm, December 26th | by Hillary Reinsberg
You tweet. Perhaps on behalf of your company. Perhaps when you signed up for Twitter, you included your company’s name in your Twitter handle. But perhaps you’ll leave your company at some point. What to do with the Twitter account?
Well, if you hang on long enough, a pending lawsuit may set the precedent, The New York Times reports. Meet Noah Kravitz, former employee of a company called PhoneDog — and former owner of the Twitter handle @Phonedog_Noah. With that handle, Kravitz had 17,000 people following his tweets, some or many of them presumably about PhoneDog. But then he left the company, and changed his Twitter handle to @NoahKravitz, but kept the account and its 17,000 followers. See where this is going? PhoneDog is suing and saying that the account belongs to them, even claiming that the Twitter account is a customer list. They’re suing him at the rate of $2.50 a follower, times eight months. That comes out to $340,000, so we’re not talking chump change here.
Why are we telling you this? In our experience writing in the women’s business space, we’ve recognized that our audience has an extremely active Twitter population. And quite a handful of the people we’ve interacted with on Twitter or other social media do have their companies in some way attached to their username on the site. Moral of the story: that’s probably not the best idea.
Regardless of who wins the case and what precedent gets set, you’re best off keeping your personal Twitter handle personal. By all means, it’s great to tweet about work stuff, but keeping the firm out of the username is your best bet.