Manchester-based Freelance B2B PR professional and copywriter

Archive for January, 2012

Who owns your Twitter account?

You automatically assume the answer to that question is you – but don’t be so sure, especially if part of your role at work is to tweet.

I read an extremely interesting article in Marketing last week on this exact subject. For example, a legal case currently going through in the US is against an employee of the mobile phone site ‘PhoneDog’, who left the company and took his 17,000 followers with him. Dropping the brand from his Twitter handle could cost him somewhere in the region of $340,000 if the case is successful.

It got me thinking, is this yet another consideration that is going to have to be included within employment contracts and social media guidelines? But what happens if when you arrive at a company you already have 1000’s of followers? Who owns those followers you or the company? Where do you draw the line?

The more you think about it the more complicated it gets. The article in Marketing also gives a great example of journalists – most of whom have a large following on Twitter. What happens if they move to a rival media outlet and simply change the company name on their profile (afterall it takes just seconds)?

Many brands are keen to add some personality to their social media accounts, and rightly so, but perhaps now is the time for companies to put some thought behind guidelines as to who exactly owns what on Twitter? Save some large legal bills!

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