Last week I examined a battle between a blogger and his former employer about who owns a Twitter account. I didn’t think it was shaping up to be a landmark case. And it looked like the former employer should have owned it.
That opinion is base upon my experience as @MaineBusiness. Or to be more accurate: My experience giving up the @MaineBusiness account.
I started the account many years ago while managing and blogging for the site links to instructional blog posts that would help entrepreneurs run businesses. And I promoted MaineBusiness.com content. I wasn’t very interactive. It was a broadcast channel.
Then I quit the job in March 2010. When I walked out the door, I had about 1,300 followers. Not a lot. It would have been nice to take that audience with me. I didn’t though. I took my photo off the account and started anew as @CarlNatale. Here’s why:
- The account was branded MaineBusiness. Couldn’t really argue it was a personal account.
- The company paid me to create it and maintain it. It was my job.
- Someone else could replace me and keep it up as @MaineBusiness.
- I didn’t want the reputation as being the guy who stole my former employer’s social media account. Especially since I was going to try to make money maintaining social media accounts for businesses.
Like I said, there were only 1,300 followers. And they signed up for a certain type of information. Too change the name and content on them felt dishonest. Kind of like a politician who switches parties. Plus I felt I could rebuild that audience.
Here’s the kicker. Since I abandoned that account, it has remained mostly dormant. But @MaineBusiness has not tweeted in more than a year and a half. In that time, it has grown by 1,000 followers.
Just how valuable is an audience that signs up to not receive updates?
For that reason, it’s stupid for anyone to hire attorneys to fight over the ownership of a Twitter account.