Chipotle, the Mexican fast food joint, is not @Chipotle on Twitter. They're @ChipotleTweets. @Chipotle belongs to a guy named Chip Clark, who registered the account before the burrito chain joined Twitter. It's amusing for Mr. Clark, sure, but confusing for the mewling masses who wish to log a grievance about their dining experience.
Twitter's terms of service do give it the right to commandeer accounts that use a company's name: "We reserve the right to reclaim user names on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal claim or trademark on those user names. Accounts using business names and/or logos to mislead others will be permanently suspended."
Luckily for Mr. Clark, they haven't taken away his account. It's against Twitter's rules to impersonate a person or company, but Chip Clark isn't actually pretending to be Chipotle. He uses his real name and photo, and links to his personal blog in his profile.
"Chipotle has contacted me a couple of times, but never offered anything in exchange," Clark told BuzzFeed in a Facebook message. Chris Arnold, communications director of Chipotle confirms, "we did contact him when we were setting up our initial presence on Twitter, and did not offer compensation simply because that was a violation of Twitter's usage terms at that time (it might still be; we haven't looked into it in quite some time). We simply chose to follow the rules." [Ed note: Buying and selling accounts is still against Twitter's TOS.]
A sample of tweets to @chipotle
Social media accounts for popular consumer establishments aren't just for promoting the product, they also perform customer service. Though in this case, the nature of the service is baffling.
Imagine someone complaining about a delicious burrito. Do you have an image of a horrible monster in your mind? That is correct. If you are mad enough about your lunch to tweet at what you think is the company's Twitter account, you are a deranged animal who should be put out of your rabies-induced misery.
Poor Chip. "My @reply box is always filled with people professing their undying love or filing a complaint about how I under-stuffed their burrito," he says. But he has a good attitude about it, saying it's "not really annoying."
"Truth is," he says, "I don't use Twitter all that much for communication. I'm sure I have a few more followers because of it."