What’s in a Twitter handle?

I got the announcement that Kate Snow is leaving ABC to join NBC a short time ago. I have to admit, the first thing I thought wasn’t about her career, but rather her Twitter handle.

Kate Snow’s current Twitter name is @abckatesnow . When she leaves the network will she simply change the A to an N? Will ABC let her do that? Who owns her Twitter name? Her followers?

It’s a question that you really have to consider when you make your Twitter name. Who owns this? Me? My company? What if I leave? Can I take my followers with me?

We’ll see how it pans out with Kate.

UPDATE (4:30pm):
Kate Snow has changed her Twitter name to @TVKateSnow Appears that she simply changed the name, which means all the followers are shifted with her. She also changed her bio, but the web link to ABC is still there.

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6 responses to “What’s in a Twitter handle?

  1. Interesting question. I know a lot of “public figures” who have 2 Twitter names, one professional and one personal. I would assume she owns the handle since she created it, but obviously she can’t use it since it’s employer specific. All in all this gets filed under the “things we never dreamed we’d have to worry about” category.

  2. You have raised a very good point about on-air personalities having Twitter accounts with station identification in the handle. There should be company guidelines or items included in the contract in place to deal with. Maybe not since social media is still new and evolving. With movement of people, it makes sense just to use your own name or have two accounts.

  3. But since you can change your twitter username at anytime without losing your followers what’s the issue here?

    • Yes, but who does the name belong to? Kate or ABC? ABC can make an argument that they own it since people follow her for where she works not who she is.

  4. One would logically think that if it was part of her position to maintain the twitter or social media account(s) by contract, as part of employment, then the employer has rights. If no such agreement exists, the creator is protected by copyright.

  5. That’s why I never made mine @nbcjim! 🙂

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