Ex-Blogger Sued by Company for “Taking” Twitter Following With Him
The legal system and social networking are in another wrestling match, and if you spend time helping an employer with your social networking clout, the decision might affect you.
Blogger Noah Kravitz of Oakland, California, is being sued by his former employer, mobile device retailer PhoneDog, to determine ownership of the Twitter account he used while working for them.
Formerly known by the handle of @PhoneDogNoah during his company days, Kravitz changed his Twitter name, and now simply goes by @NoahKravitz.
PhoneDog is suing, saying that despite leaving the company on “good terms” in 2010, Kravitz’s taking his company Twitter account amounts to absconding their customer account list — the now over 25,000 followers that went along with it. According to Kravitz, he was told he could keep the account, as long as he tweeted about PhoneDog upon occasion.
Kravitz is now looking down the barrel of a $340,000 lawsuit, as PhoneDog is claiming damages of $2.50 per Twitter follower/month for the eight months since Kravitz and PhoneDog parted ways.
Kravitz has growing support, including a website and a Twitter account @SaveNoah, both created by an admirer. According to SaveNoahKravitz.com, PhoneDog’s lawsuit is retaliation, for an earlier legal filing by Kravitz over ad revenues owed him by the company. The site adds that Kravitz was an established writer before being hired, and started the @PhoneDogNoah Twitter account himself, not per any company agreement. The site claims that if Kravitz loses his legal fight, they will give him the @SaveNoah account to start over, and asks everyone to follow it.
It will be interesting to see how the judge rules in this suit, as a number of bloggers establish and carefully maintain their social influence, in hopes to cash in on behalf of a paying ‘brand’. Should the potential exist for their social identities to be claimed, at least in part, by an employer, the social-based business ecosystem could have significant damage done to it.