Tech journalist sued for the value of his Twitter followers

So how much is a Twitter follower worth?  The answer could be $2.50, as phone technology site PhoneDog is suing their former employee Noah Kravitz for $340,000 for the 17,000 followers he kept after leaving.

Noah made the jump over to TechnoBuffalo earlier this year after quitting PhoneDog in October 2010.  He tweeted under @Phonedog_Noah and the company permitted him to keep his Twitter account and followers, so long as he kept talking about them.  It sounded as if they had left on good terms.

However, eight months into his new handle of @NoahKravitz, PhoneDog sued for damages of $2.50 per follower for the time that had passed, amassing to a rather steep $340,000. PhoneDog media refused to comment, instead releasing the following statement:

The costs and resources invested by PhoneDog Media into growing its followers, fans and general brand awareness through social media are substantial and are considered property of PhoneDog Media L.L.C. We intend to aggressively protect our customer lists and confidential information, intellectual property, trademark and brands.

The question of concern around this area would be around company control of social media.  Can a business claim ownership of, or even buy an employee's social media presence?  And moreover, what does this mean for the ever increasing use of Facebook, Twitter or Google+ during work hours?

Social media marketeers beware, your digital life may have just become available for a price.

Source: New York Times