Make tweets, not war over who owns a Twitter account

by Carl Natale on January 3, 2012

Last TweetLast 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 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?

Here’s the thing. A Twitter audience is a weak connection. They are not committed to your cause or your customers. There is a small chance of converting them. You need to do more than tweet.

For that reason, it’s stupid for anyone to hire attorneys to fight over the ownership of a Twitter account.

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