You can read here on Mashable how a guy named Noah Kravitz worked at a company named PhoneDog, tweeting while he did as “@phonedog_noah,” and then left the company and took — or tried to — his 17,000 Twitter followers with him when he left.
“Tried to” because PhoneDog is suing him for $2.50 per follower.
Google “phonedog Noah Kravitz” and you’ll see what a mess. Lots of different opinions. And there are clearly two sides — or more — to the story. Evil establishment claiming the life and identity of poor wage slave? Unscrupulous employee running off with company assets as he leaves? Take your choice.
What I see is one huge mistake: the account name: “@phonedog_noah.” It’s half company, half personal. If he’d been tweeting as “@NoahKravitz” then his ownership would have been clear: his name, his followers, his account. Or if he’d been tweeting as “@PhoneDog” then it would have been equally clear: company name, company account, company followers. Unfortunately, “@phonedog_noah” is a bit of both. Ambiguity, here we come.
I took a quick look at my business, Palo Alto Software, which has a @bplans twitter account and a bplans facebook page. Those are the company’s, no doubt. I post on them, Sabrina posts, Noah posts, Monique posts, and others do too. Some people who are no longer employees have posted to those in the past. But @timberry is mine, not the company’s; and @mommyceo is Sabrina’s, and so on. These are easy distinctions to make.
What about your business? Whose brand are you building?