Ministers get 20-page guide for acceptable Twitter use
LONDON - The government has unveiled its inaugural Twitter strategy document to encourage departments to get tweeting, but at a hefty 5,382 words it is the equivalent of more than 250 tweets.
Created by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, it urges all government departments to get tweeting, while avoiding posting "pointless content".
Tweets must be in a "human tone" and should at all costs not invoke premonitions of "big brother" by making first contact with users and "following" them straightaway.
However, "Twitter etiquette" dictates that all "followers" should be "followed back", as "having an imbalance between 'following and 'follower' figures can result in poor Twitter reputation".
Though the accounts will be anonymous, Neil Williams, author of the report, said it would be helpful to define a hypothetical voice so that tweets from multiple sources are presented in a tone, "including consistent use of pronouns".
Users must tweet no less than twice a day and no more than 10, with a 30-minute gap in between to avoid congestion, while steering clear of self-promotion or "dry" content.
The Twitter strategy also acknowledges the risk of criticism for "jumping on the bandwagon", or a "waste of public money/lack of return on investment".
The guide also provides a crash course to the ins and outs of the microblogging website, including use of hashtags, URL shorteners and the difference between proactive and reactive retweeting.
Government could also resort to Twitter as a last means of crisis communications in the event of an emergency, the document said, "in the event of a major incident, where the department needs to provide up-to-the-minute advice, Twitter would be used as a primary channel alongside our corporate website."
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