Feeds

Gov geek publishes 5000-word Twitter guide

It only takes an hour a day to present a human face

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The world was given an insight into how both Twitter and the UK's e-government work today when the national media discovered one of Whitehall's in-house self-proclaimed web geek's guide to using Twitter.

Neil Williams, head of corporate digital channels at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, quietly posted his compact 5,382 word guide to setting up UK.gov Twitter feeds here last week. Highlighting the lightning speed at which web 2.0 can work, by this morning it was plastered all over the papers.

The guide pitches Twitter as "free to use with a relatively low impact on resources [with] the potential to deliver many benefits in support of our communications objectives".

It is, Williams says, "experiencing a phenomenal adoption curve in the UK and being used increasingly by government departments, Members of Parliament, a number of our stakeholders as well as millions of businesses, non government organisations and individuals."

So of course, the government would be mad not to use it. It's not like you're going to be relying on bumping into the first three of these groups walking down Whitehall, or wandering around the palace of Westminster, or on the diplomatic cocktail round. And clearly the rest have given up on boring old newspapers, TV, radio, etc.

Williams advises his colleagues that using Twitter means government depts can present folk with "an informal, ‘human’ voice of the organisation to promote comprehension of and engagement with our corporate messages".

At the same time, he warns, there are risks associated with breaches of Twitter etiquette, such as "Criticism arising from an inability to meet the demands of Twitter users to join conversations/answer enquiries, due to resource and clearance issues".

Even worse, there is the risk of inappropriate content being unleashed. This of course should be managed through the traditional methods of leaking and briefing-against one's political and departmental enemies.

Still, a credible operation can be up and running for just an hour a day's work from a department's Digital Media team, Williams reckons. That includes "sourcing and publishing tweets, co-ordinating replies to incoming messages and monitoring the account".

That's not all in one burst though. Messages - sorry, tweets - should be spaced at least 30 minutes apart, with a minimum of two tweets and a max of ten. Yes, that's how often and how much you need to show you're human.

We're not sure what the digital media team members will be doing the rest of the time, but we're imagining at least some of it will involve walking down Whitehall, wandering around the palace of Westminster, doing the diplomatic cocktail party round, etc.

We wondered how this sudden brush with fame had affected Williams. We went to his Twitter feed, naturally, but he now appears to be coyly protecting his tweets. His blog is up and running, though, and provides some background; amongst other things, he describes himself as a "lapsed comedy writer". ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.