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Guy Quits Job And Twitter Followers Follow Him :)

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 11:10 PM

Some guy quits his job.... 17000 twitter followers "follow him".... and now employer sues him.


Pretty interesting. The company wants $2.50/month/follower.

#2 A.N.Onym


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 03:53 AM

I thought it had long been known that if you do something work related in your paid time, that belongs to the employer. Some might even argue that even if you do something non-work related, it still belongs to your employer (aside from work-cooked lunches, hopefully).

Haven't we had similar lawsuits earlier?

Funny thing, though, to demand a Twitter account 8 months after the employee left the company. Strange behaviour on both parts.

Personally, I've always distinguished work and personal social media - perhaps, I've made up my mind a while ago just on existing similar cases back then.

Though a quick search didn't find anything similar, there is a good amount of lawsuits, connected with Tweeting. Fun.

#3 jonbey


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:02 AM

Strange, I guess we need to know all the facts. Was there a contract? If they employed someone to drive social media traffic for a bit and then stopped that contract, can they really expect that his name is still used for their benefit? Did he have the account before working for them? Was there one name change or many?

A lot of people "hire" social media experts who have a big following to do some promotions for them and then once end that relationship they go their separate ways. But, down to the contract I guess. If there was no contract it is hard to see how the company can win the case - they hired him and he did the work. Who owns a twitter account anyway?

Dumb of the company (who probably did not understand social media) and dumb of the guy (who seemed not to care about his reputation).

#4 cre8pc


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:25 PM

The contract is the key here. I'm not sure how many contracts even include Twitter or any social media. They should, but I bet less knowledgeable companies will think of it. If Matt Cutts would leave his heavily leaning Google topic Twitter account, people would follow him wherever he goes. Wonder if that's been considered by him/Google.

Interesting times we're in, eh?

#5 iamlost


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:29 PM

The fascinating part of the claim is that the Twitter followers he 'took' with him constitutes a mailing list and as such is proprietary. I can see this being given consideration only if the company can show that offers were regularly or substantively made.


#6 AbleReach


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:46 PM

At this point, this can't be about getting ownership of twitter followers.

Noah Kravitz's personal account, http://twitter.com/#!/noahkravitz, has 23K followers. They're his followers, no matter how they heard of him or why they decided to follow.

http://twitter.com/#...!/phonedog_noah does not have 17K followers for phonedog to get. Right now it has all of two followers! Is @phonedog_noah the account in question? It's the account mentioned in news reports. Because it's marked private we can't see past tweets. If there were once 17K followers on that account, getting all but two to unfollow themselves is an exceptional feat - maybe even impossible. The account owner would have to have done something to clear out the account.

This, in my opinion, is the crux of the migrating follower issue: how did @phonedog_noah get rid of 17K followers? There are two scenarios.

The owner of a twitter account can't delete followers. However, account owners can manually block or mark followers as spammers, which would block them from following, thus removing them as followers. If what Noah did was block or mark those followers as spammers, that's another thing entirely because it would alienate brand evangelists. If I was phonedog I'd be hopping mad about something like that... and I'd be hoping that there would be legal remedies. IMHO a twitter account owner who does that is a jerk who does not care or understand that mudslinging gets both mudslinger and mudslingee dirty.

If a twitter account owner changes their tweets to protected, unfollowing followers will take them off the follower list. Unfollowing like that would be more like dismantling a twitter account. If Noah Kravitz did this and the account is ruled to be the property of the company, Noah is in trouble. If everything created as an employee belongs to the employer, Noah is in the wrong.

Here's Noah Kravitz interviewed today, on his local Public Radio station: http://www.kqed.org/...m/R201112280900 Notice that nobody is talking about how the @phonedog_noah account's follower number got to only two.

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