UK Government Publishes 20-page Official Guide To Twitter

Neil Williams, the head of corporate digital channels at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has published a 20-page document for public servants who would like to start twittering.

The document called "Template Twitter strategy for Government Departments" contains more than 5600 words and, astutely, has been published as a PDF document on Scribd. Mr Williams acknowledges that people might think that "a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter".

Although Twitter has only recently captured the imagination of Whitehall, the report itself is refreshingly easy to read if you already are a Twitter user and could be a rather useful tool for public and private bodies alike should they look to embrace Twitter or indeed generic microblogging.

Governmental Twitters have attracted a rather significant amount of followers; The official Twitter channel for the Prime Minister's Office based at 10 Downing Street has attracted nearly 1.07 million followers although truth be said, it has nearly 500,000 followers.

Even the PM's wife, Sarah Brown, has embraced Twitter, reaching more than 467,000 followers. The document advises that government departments should seek to limit their posts to between two and 10 a day and should refrain from following Twitter users who are not following them.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said that 65 percent of homes in the UK are connected to the Internet and the Directgov website logs around 15 million visits a month, a figure that is growing.

Our Comments

To be fair, we didn't like the idea of officials from governmental departments twittering rather than working. However, the document doesn't stipulate that ALL public employees should be twittering (which would be ridiculous). It does however propose a simple and doable framework for implementing a direct line of communication with the public.

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