“Ownership” of Social Media Accounts
I didn’t think too much about the whole firing of CNN’s Rick Sanchez until I happened upon this article contemplating about the “ownership” of the various social media accounts that were an integrated and essential component to Rick’s show on CNN. Now I understand that it’s great to have a single personality behind a brand, but this case obviously shows the pitfalls of what might happen if that person leaves the company. With the Rick Sanchez case, his accounts were branded to him so that with his leaving it wasn’t that damaging (at least in my opinion) to CNN. In fact, looking now, his account has now been renamed from @ricksanchezcnn to @ricksancheznews which still retains all of the followers that his old account had – interestingly the renamed account is not “verified by Twitter” any longer.
An example of a company social media account changing hands gracefully is the Comcast @comcastcares account. That account was established by a Comcast customer service employee, Frank Eliason, who grew it into a wonderful and very popular customer service portal. However, Frank has moved on to other opportunities, and has left the account in the hands of Comcast customer service.
These are both examples in which things worked out ok. What happens if an employee is in charge of a ski resort’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and has them attached to their personal email and for whatever reason that person leaves the resort? Certainly one would expect that employee to pass those accounts along to their former employer, but in an extreme circumstance they could easily hold onto the Twitter account, or perhaps change it to suit their purposes. Same with the Facebook Pages where the account would need another admin assigned to it to take over and remove the person that has moved on, thankfully, Facebook does allow the initial page creator to be removed, a fairly recent change.