Some interesting questions come to mind:
In the interesting case of PhoneDog v Noah Kravitz, the employer asserted a ludicrous spot value of $2.50 per follower – on a twitter account that had 17,000 followers. This seems ridiculous, since all of the studies show that people primarily follow personality, not product or brand, on twitter. In rare cases where a “brand personality” has been created, such as the case of the Old Spice ads featuring a paid actor – there is an obvious brand ownership.
The question begs: Did Kravitz build that following, or did the PhoneDog brand attract them? Only time, not the court, will tell; But my money would be on Kravitz. As anyone who has seriously attempted to build a following can tell you, it’s no simple task to build and maintain a 5 digit following on Twitter! AND more importantly – what difference does it make?? If PhoneDog puts any other employee on that account, there is no guarantee that the followers will be motivated to continue following or to do anything financially beneficial for PhoneDog.
On the other hand, I’m going out on a limb here, it seems that a savvy company that understands the value of a person who can build a 5 digit following will employ Kravitz to join them and blog for them. I may completely wrong, but I’m going to say that one year from now Kravitz will have a new account with at least 125% of the followers he once had at PhoneDog and someone will be paying him to do it.
A Lose-Lose Proposition?
At Gillie, we believe there is no way to quantify the value of the loss in “social capital” that PhoneDog will suffer as a result of suing an employee for taking an account that he built while working there. But, my guess is that the cost will vastly out-weigh the sum of the spot value they placed on the followers that Kravitz was taking with him. Any new employee who is a serious blogger or tweeter will be crazy to go to work at an employer who is going to sue them – unless they can finagle an advance “hold harmless” agreement in their favor.
All of this could have been avoided, if PhoneDog had:
What these cases reveal is the fact that corporations still have yet to fully regard how consequential the new social culture can be to their business. Social media is here to stay – especially in the business world where computers and mobile devices are part and parcel of the business cycle. Now is the time to consider these issues – before you find your company fighting a lose-lose lawsuit.
At Social Gillie, we believe in creating Win-Win-Win propositions. Social Gillie has already thought through these impacts and is able to help your company gain from the new social media culture with a social business plan that both benefits and enhances your company’s productivity – rather than diminishes it. Contact us today to discuss the Social Gillie solutions available for your company.
Designed by Nik Mouser.