Who Owns Your Social Media Followers – You or Your Boss?

By Anna @BubbleJobs

As crowds thronged the Vatican yesterday to welcome Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires into his new role as Pope Francis, the first thing my geeky Social Media mind told me to do, was to check the @Pontifex twitter account. Lo and behold, all communication from Pope Benedict XVI had disappeared, replaced by Pope Francis’ first tweet.

It got me thinking about the savvy way in which the Vatican organised its Social Media policy – its handle being based on the papacy as opposed to the active pope. Pope Benedict’s followers didn’t belong to him; they were really owned by the Catholic office. Not all businesses take such a forward-thinking approach which can often lead to issues later on, when employers and employees part ways.

To get some further perspective on the matter, I decided to open the debate to you (our lovely Bubble twitterverse) as I asked for opinions on who owns Twitter/Facebook and LinkedIn connections when you leave a job?

I had some rather mixed responses…
Mark Twitter Response


Rumman Twitter Response



Both of these rather contradictory reactions suggest that the problem inherently lies in the ability of Social Media to blur our personal and professional lives like never before. The catch-22 is that the nature of Social Media means that twitter accounts and facebook posts don’t really work unless someone is manning them and injecting a bit of their personality into the corporate content being shared.

Sophie suggests that it’s all dependent on the name of the account in question.

Sophie Twitter Response



We both agreed that things are murkier still when it comes to LinkedIn. Some arguments suggest that LinkedIn connections are akin to customer lists and therefore belong to employers as intellectual property. At Bubble HQ however we unanimously agree that LinkedIn is more of a personal platform.  The relationships developed are at the hands of the individuals involved regardless of whether they are nurtured for a particular business deal. LinkedIn hasn’t offered much guidance as to issues of ownership but rumours do suggest that it is looking to take up the fight on behalf of users…so watch this space….

Before I finish today’s musings I’d like to point out that I’m not thinking of leaving Bubble anytime soon so you can just continue to follow me @BubbleJobs and @AnnaGeary1990 if you wish… #cheeky

But on a serious note, I am keen to know your thoughts on today’s debate. Have you ever been involved in any bitter dealings over Social Media accounts with a previous employer? Do leave a comment below or tweet me (as above)….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *