Updated on July 28, 2009
With headlines ranging from the sublime (ministers and dummies in the Daily Mail) to the ridiculous (â€˜Big Brotherâ€™ in The Guardian), headline-writers in the UK mainstream media have had a field day over the past 24 hours in how theyâ€™ve chosen to focus reporting about the template Twitter strategy for government departments published last week (on July 21, to be precise), and which theyâ€™ve just found out about.
The 20-page guidelines document was written by Neil Williams, head of corporate digital channels at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). I discovered it last week via a post by Dan Martin and included it as a news item in FIR 468 on July 23 (the audio segment starts at about 27:20).
Whatever you may think of Twitter â€“ and many peopleâ€™s opinions swing from â€œWhat a total waste of time!â€ to â€œOMG, itâ€™s our salvation!â€ â€“ the fact is that more and more people are using this online service as a means to connect with other people, whether thatâ€™s for personal or business reasons.
One result is the rash of â€˜how to use Twitterâ€™ content thatâ€™s been appearing in recent months, much of it bandwagons that so-called â€˜Twitter expertsâ€™ would persuade you to hitch a ride on.
But some of the more recent content is actually well worth your time in perusing, thinking about, asking questions and learning from as a means to help you get a sense of the breadth and depth of what you could do with Twitter as a communication channel as part of your overall communication strategy.
I see Neilâ€™s document in that vein. Some of the content may not apply to you â€“ government-specific stuff especially â€“ and not all of it will be relevant to you. You may not agree with some of it, either.
But take a look for yourself â€“ Neil Williams posted his template on the Scribd document-sharing service which Iâ€™ve also included here:
What I like about Neilâ€™s sharing his thinking in the form of the template is also what he says in his blog post that heâ€™s learned from having produced a document like this:
- To get buy-in, explain Twitter’s importance to non-believers and the uninitiated, and face down accusations of bandwagon-jumping
- To set clear objectives and metrics to make sure there’s a return on the investment of staff time (and if there isnâ€™t, weâ€™ll stop doing it)
- To make sure the channel is used consistently and carefully, to protect corporate reputation from silly mistakes or inappropriate use
- To plan varied and interesting content, and enthuse those who will provide it into actively wanting to do so
- As a briefing tool for new starters in the team who will be involved in the management of the channel
This would apply in any organization context, whichever sector youâ€™re in, public or private.
Itâ€™s worth a look. Oh, and the most realistic media headline I saw this morning is this one in FutureGov:
Yes, that looks about right.