The Critical PhoneDog Noah Mistake Was Avoidable

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?

I engage happily with people at companies. Shashi Bellamkonda., for example, who works with Network Solutions, or Richard Duffy, with SAP. These are people. I’ve met them on Twitter, and then in one case in person and the other by phone. This is actually social, amplified by technology. It’s cool.


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