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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Can employees take their Twitter followers when they leave?

by Kathy Blake

A South Carolina company, PhoneDog LLC filed a lawsuit against a former employee,
Noah Kravitz, who took his 17,000 twitter followers with him when he left the company. The company says Kravitz owes $340,000 — 2.50 per twitter follower per month since he left the company 8 months ago. Forbes.com

It will be interesting to see how this develops.
 Since Twitter is a free service and employees can use it anywhere, not just at work, shouldn't they be able to take their contact list, (followers and following) with them?
Many companies want their workers to interact on Twitter and Facebook during work time. By interacting with clients and the public, it builds relationships, community connections and promotes the company.
Many employees spend hours outside of work, building their Twitter following and staying in touch, continuing to build relationships.
Many companies have policies in place regarding contact information which could probably be modified to include Twitter and other social media.
The way Twitter is designed is bound to bring about more of these types of claims. Having a large following, like 17,000 can be worth a great deal to advertisers who pay to have their messages tweeted. It takes a lot of time to build a following of that size.
When the employee leaves, (possibly to work for a competitor), should they be able to take their social media contacts with them?

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