Twitter strategy and policy

I have been developing a draft Twitter strategy and policy, based on Neil Williams’ draft strategy for government departments.

Although a long way from finished, I am releasing a very early draft now because Neil’s has received prominent media attention.

My version is already substantially different from Neil’s, and I still have a long way to go. There’s a lot that I want to rearrange, re-work or cut completely; it does not constitute the Citizenship Foundation’s strategy for using Twitter.

My main reason for releasing it now is that there are some inaccuracies in the original, particularly in regard to replies and direct messages, which are in danger of informing government strategies.

But hats off to Neil, for doing a superb job producing a draft from which people like me could work.

Download the latest version of my Draft Twitter Strategy.


  • 29 July, 13:30: File replaced with version 2. It should be read as three related but independent documents: ‘Strategy’, ‘Policy’ and ‘Appendices’.
  • 28 July, 09:28: the draft strategy document will periodically be replaced with newer versions while it’s under development.


This is feedback that I have already given for Neil’s document, reproduced here in case it’s useful.

  • Not sure I agree that having a Twitter account renders web feeds (eg RSS, Atom) redundant. Twitter is immediate and pretty ephemeral: I might stumble across something on Twitter but I’ll track it using a feed reader.
  • A strict clearance procedure can be counter-productive as it can severely undermine the immediate and conversational nature of Twitter. Not easy to avoid in the public sector I imagine, but my take on it is to delegate oversight responsibility down to line managers.
  • I don’t think it’s possible to have an ‘organisational voice’ in a conversation. An organisation as an entity does not have an individual, informal, human voice: it is the collective voices of the staff (on behalf of the organisation) that engage in discussion, not the organisation itself. Therefore I don’t agree that a corporate account should be anonymous: it should be clear who the person behind it is. I’m waiting with interest for ConnectTweet, as I think it may solve a lot of issues.
  • Having a high following/followers ratio is generally seen as a good thing, not a bad thing, by reputation grading services.
  • @replies no longer work like that: people will only see your reply if they are following both you and the person you’re replying too (explained on Twitter and reported on Mashable)
  • You don’t need to be following someone to send them a DM, only they need to be following you (DMs explained by Twitter)
  • I don’t think ‘friends’ and ‘following’ are different. As I understand it ‘friends’ was replaced by ‘following’ as a clarification (‘What is Following’? (Twitter Help))
Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

7 thoughts on “Twitter strategy and policy

  1. This is an excellent example of citizens participating in government strategy docs! well done for doing your draft! Also this is shows the power of twitter in raising awareness of the whole shebang, as others will now see it. Twitter is a tool, clear guidelines essential for orgs, and Neil was quite clear his original was open to edits/additions!

  2. Pingback: FutureGov » Useful links » links for 2009-07-29

  3. I can’t wait to see how Twitter turn their brand equity and traffic into money.

    If I were them, I’d come up with some sort of Adsense-like program with revenue share to the Twitter page owner and sell small and tasteful banner ads on profile pages at a cost per impression and a cost per click.

  4. twitter is a waste of peoples times. it makes every one belive that their every tiny little movements and actions are important enough to share with the rest of the world, why do we need to know you if you have just had a sandwich, who cares!!!

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