Connection Ownership and how to settle this?

It’s nothing new that employers and employees or business partners face each other in court to battle over who gets what. When ‘divorce lawyer’ can be a career choice, you can assume there is plenty of business in settling break-up disputes. Now, with social media and on-line connections, the break-up process has become even more complicated.

The wonderful Jillian Jackson wrote a post about this subject, and it should keep every business and every professional busy.

Who owns the professional connection?

This is a very fair question to ask. And I’m not sure I can answer it to full satisfaction.., but I’ll try. The way I see it, there has to be a clear mutual agreement and a clear guidelines.

battle connections

With the ever more increasing on-line connectivity of employees in a modern social business it gets very difficult to differentiate between personal connections and professional connections. It seems a good place to start.

Personal Connections

This can be defined as a connect with no ties to the company one is working for. But, what if you work for, let’s say, Nike. Every body has a pair of Nike’s in the closet. By that rational, a good friend who runs a lot and connected with you via LinkedIn can be a potential asset to Nike.

You can post something, a latest blog post, on LinkedIn and he can be influenced by that. Despite the fact he knows you work for Nike and has been running on them from even before you met. Still, because of his demographic, Nike could claim the connect.., especially if the connect was made during your employment with Nike.

Tough, huh?

Professional Connection

When you have an on-line presence, you create connections. Further more, your company should want you to connect. It needs brand ambassadors and employees can be the best. Providing preciously useful content for its customers. And we use our own accounts for this.., because we want to be ‘genuine’ and ‘keep it real’.., and extend our personal brand while we’re at it.

Sure, for official communiques there are the corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts.., of course. But, the 150 or so employees who are active on blogs, in forums, on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and all the other available communities are impossible to regulate. And you can’t create a ‘corporate’ account for every eventuality. Well, you can, but it kinda defeats the purpose of having your employees willingly contribute to your social business.

Legal Battles

In 2011 Noah Kravitz was sued by his former employer over his Twitter followers. He created a, to me, impressive following of 17.000. But, did this with the handle @PhoneDog-Noah. Although Kravitz claims the separation was amicable, PhoneDog came down on Kravitz like a ton of bricks. The Social Sphere was keeping an eye on the precedent that would be set via the ruling on this case.

Well, I don’t how it ends. I don’t want to know. I dug a little deeper and find [they] were suing, counter suing, trying to get stuff dismissed, which then didn’t get dismissed.., it’s a farce and a waste of our time.

One word.., SOCIAL. Why do we need a court ruling on every single fart we inadvertently let escape. I mean, really, do we need to set a legal precedence here.., I say we can settle this like grown ups.

Between Partners

Jillian’s question was more between business partners than between employee/employer. But, I think there can be an equally satisfying solution.

Imagine there is a breakup between partners.

If you take ownership of ‘friendship A’, what does your partner do? Un-friend that person? That’s just silly.

I think “owning” the real account to the client can be detrimental to deciding ownership. Or, the one retaining the rights to the brand or ownership of the company should have first dibs on ‘connections’

And, I do believe that this is only a matter when earnings are involved. A ‘connect’ on Twitter holds little weight. A signed contract for a service a lot more.

The Twitter account connected to the contract is a free for all, nobody can deny you the right to connect. How you communicate is a different matter.


But, here we assume nothing is set up front. That no contract was signed or agreement was met.

It should be settled up front (i.e. prenup). In any case, whether it’s a two person partnership or a larger company. In order to avoid problems, you should settle it up front.

Still, the exact content of such a contract be another legal tar pit.., and even then, you cannot anticipate every conceivable break-up scenario.., always leaving some room for a law suit.

Personal Accounts are Personal

It’s a merry-go-round. But, in the end a personal account should stay personal, at all cost. Any connection made on that personal account belongs to the owner of that account.., period.

I know, what about connections made during working hours? Yes, them too belong to the employee (or partner), not to the company, even if the account is a customer or a partner.

The point here is.., does the employee does her? If ‘yes’, than the connections are hers. If ‘no’, then not.

Get Your Stuff Under Control

Employers should get their lines straight. If they supports an environment where employees can be free to develop, to innovate, to communicate and be proper brand ambassadors.., then there is no need for legal battles.Even if an employee should leave, she’d leave on good terms. Then, there is no problem, her name is still under a lot of blog posts (or not), but she’ll still be a brand enthusiast.

Bottom Line

I do not have a solution, and I do not believe there is a ‘ready made’ one available. Even when a legal precedence is set.., companies or disgruntled employees will always find a reason or a way to sue each other, regardless.

The only way I see to settle this is to create an environment where this situation does not apply. An environment where trust and respect are the main motivators, not greed or retaliation.

I know, Utopia.

But, we’re not that far away from such working conditions. Social business is able to reduce intrigue and office politics, leaving openness and honesty as default behaviour.

Join Mark Harai and me for a discussion on this topic.., it show the solution is not as forthcoming as you might think:

75 Pieces of Blogging Advice

I suggested to someone there would be a 1001 pieces of blogging advice. So I decided to write them down.

But, I failed.., maybe if I’d stretch it I can hit 100, or 200 if I really keep going.., but 75 is good enough.

75 pieces blogging adviceHere is the fully unordered list of blog advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid
  2. You are not writing a novel
  3. Get
  4. not
  5. Use personal hosting
  6. and make it green while you’re at it (Dreamhost Affiliate)
  7. Get a good theme, pay for it
  8. Find a niche your comfortable with
  9. and stick with it
  10. Be genuine
  11. Be honest
  12. Make sure your SEO is in order
  13. Use keywords
  14. Use spell check
  15. Write an About Me page
  16. write this in the first person
  17. Use social sharing
  18. Let everyone comment
  19. moderate after they comment
  20. Respond to every comment
  21. Use Triberr
  22. Use Twitter
  23. Get guest bloggers
  24. Guest blog yourself
  25. Use categories
  26. but not too many
  27. Use tags
  28. as many as you want
  29. Use rel=”author”
  30. Use Google+
  31. Come up with a consisted theme
  32. or rather, a personal brand
  33. Set up statistics from day one
  34. Don’t focus to much on statistics
  35. Read this list
  36. Read a book
  37. or two
  38. Be nice
  39. Be controversial
  40. but be nice
  41. Solve problems for people
  42. Write “evergreen” articles
  43. Not every article has to be that killer article
  44. Find your targeting audience
  45. Know who you write for
  46. Have a fast loading site
  47. Make sure your theme is responsive
  48. Grow an Email list
  49. Use a clear call to action
  50. When in doubt, do not publish
  51. or get a second opinion
  52. Use emotions
  53. Be personal
  54. Use paragraphs
  55. Don’t write too long
  56. unless you’ve earned the attention
  57. Don’t leave your reader hanging
  58. start with the answer
  59. then the why and how
  60. Don’t lie
  61. in your headlines
  62. or anywhere else
  63. Make you headlines perfectly clear
  64. don’t be too clever about it
  65. Use a landing page
  66. to make clear what the blog is about
  67. or to promote your product
  68. Use the sidebar wisely
  69. Put your face on the blog
  70. Create a podcast
  71. Use video
  72. Have two sets of analytics, to compare
  73. also useful to show advertisers
  74. Work with affiliates
  75. Do not blog every day (you are not Mashable)
  76. twice a week is more than enough
  77. Have fun

Did I miss something? Anything to add? Please do, the comment section is yours.

Oi! Conference.., and why you should attend

oiconf oi conference online influenceTo be honest here.., and I like being honest:

If you live in the UK.., or if you are in the neighbourhood between 10th and 15th June, you should get a ticket to Oi! now.

Let me tell you why… (but you can buy a ticket first if you want, I’ll wait).

Great Speakers

I was chatting with Mark Schaefer, yeh, I know, name dropping.., but there it is. He mentioned the Online Influence Conference, Oi! for short.
I checked it out and for starters I will give you four reasons why you should attend:

oi conference oiconf onlince influence

If you recognise (any of) these names then you can buy tickets right here (no affiliate), right now.

It’s a Tour

Now, this is not any old conference. It’s a tour!
The above mentioned tour four cities in the UK: Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester (this is where I’ll be, so let’s meet up) and Glasgow.
For the last three there are still early bird tickets available at, wait for it.., £99. For Cardiff it’s £149. Boom, another excuse out the door.., it is not expensive.

I’m really inspired by the energy and drive behind this conference. It’s shaping up to be a powerful day of practical learning from some of the best minds in the US, and beyond!

Mark Schaefer

So, a tour. All four will speak at all four events. And not just them. Local talent is invited to sit in on forums and have there own talks.
Combining mega power with local knowledge…, nice concept, right?

Oi! Needs You

130401- Two PuppiesHere’s a photo of our puppies.., just to keep your attention long enough to read the following:

Of course, this is a weird blog post and I’m only writing it because the organisation behind this conference are just “a couple of bloggers and friends” who love putting this together.., but they need there seats filled in order to break even. They need your help.

You can read more about this on the Oi! blog, written by Tony Dowling, the founding father of the Oi!.

Remember, I’m not gaining anything by writing this, Tony asked for help, this is how I’m giving it. I already bought a ticket (I don’t need more).

Enrich Yourself

So, that’s all I got.

I don’t you do not want to miss this and if you are a Social Media professional you cannot miss this.

Plus, there is no reason for you not miss this. It’s just such incredible value for money.., it’d be really be silly not to go.
Just to put things into perspective.., I bought the early bird for Manchester, I’m staying in a hotel walking distance from the venue, have a Ryanair flight from Belgium! And I still pay less than the last conference I went to (without a flight and without a hotel).

Just saying…

Get your ticket now!