Published on January 2, 2012
In the world of capitalism, it’s been relatively easy to keep your personal life divided from your business life. But with the now overgrown world of social networking and globalization, it takes more effort to build a separating wall. Noah Kravitz, previously known as @Phonedog_Noah on Twitter is involved in a unique lawsuit debating just how blurry the walls can get.
Kravitz, who blogged for Phonedog, agreed to use the account as a mixture of his personal life and promotion for the company’s work. Using his candid personality and interactive participation with other users, his marketing for the company online became a huge resource for the site. The entirety of the 17,000 followers amassed by Noah, (which has recently risen to 22,000 since the lawsuit) is the topic of discussion.
In October 2010, Noah decided to leave the company, Phonedog, and changed his twitter name from @Phonedog_Noah to @NoahKravitz. The company is now seeking to recover damages up to $2.50 per user, per month since the fallout– a total accumulating up to $370,000. But Kravitz insists the followers that he solely built, belongs to him, since his personality is the actual face and function of the page. In a written statement, Phonedog stated the “costs and resources invested… are substantial and are considered property of Phonedog Media.”
So who’s in the right? Do you follow people on Twitter because of the personality or because of what they offer? Or is it both? Who’s to say that Phonedog will keep their large following if they only tweeted as a company? And who’s to say Noah’s Twitter would have as many followers if he didn’t gain them with the help of his work with the company?
Provided the walls of business and personal claim in social media are thin, it may be best to keep them both separate. While you can tweet about your work and the company, having your own personal account unattached to its name may be the most wise if anything should arise. That includes your own opinions which may not be popular, ideas that may be yours alone, independent ventures and so forth, that will not conflict with your job. That’s become very clear from this lawsuit, but since this lawsuit still stands, whose side do you stand on?