Not as I do … or all of a Twitter

When I think about Twitter I think about my first steps into social media. For me it’s where I found my voice online,where I hopefully proved that at least one civil servant has a human face, where I’ve met some really interesting people, and where I go when I need advice, or need to find something out. But this isn’t meant to be a love letter to Twitter. More a plea to non digital colleagues to think beyond the obvious.

When I started writing this post, it was meant to be a slightly different take on the issues that my colleague Tim has since raised in his recent post, but it’s obviously now been slightly influenced by reading that post.

Twitter might be my own favourite social media platform, but it’s not the only one available, and as we know not right for every conceivable circumstance. But for many who approach our team it’s true that it’s the thing they think they need to do to tick all the right boxes. That might be because it’s social media flavour of the month, and thus the only tool they’ve really heard of.   I don’t necessarily agree that means Twitter should be completely relegated – it just means that it’s the team’s role to reinforce its place in the wider toolbox that’s available to us.  And if Twitter is what hooks people into social media in the first place, then that can act as a stepping stone with other things. It worked with me.  So, every cloud and all that.

So we’ll keep on exploring the options to reinforce the message that there’s more to life than Twitter. I’ve thought of writing a “playlet” to demonstrate to future “clients” the difference between what they generally ask, and what they maybe should be asking.  That’ll add and reinforce the work we do around our social media surgeries and the digital days that other posts have focused on.  So Twitter doesn’t get relegated – other tools just join it in the Premier League as awareness of them increases.


  1. I love Twitter – it has opened doors to all sorts of opportunities for me and introduced me to a whole world of interesting people *but* I’ve never been too convinced of its worth as an engagement channel for organisations rather than individuals.

    I do think, like Tim, that alot of us [me included] got a little tunnel visioned trying to make Twitter work and it became a little bit of the be all and end all. Increasingly I wonder if things like Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest or even Google+ [if you can fight past the tumbleweeds] might not be more appropriate platforms. Maybe. I guess there is only one way to find out – JFDI 🙂

    • I agree that it’s easier for individuals to be truly engaging than organisations. We’re working in some way with Tumblr, Linked In and Pinterest,and I’m not 100% convinced that they’re necessarily any better, or don’t throw up the same problem of getting genuine conversation going. Twitter it is still a good channel to get news and announcements out to people.

      The Wellcome Trust is a great example (and relevant to your organisation) at showing how organisations can do Twitter and other social media.

  2. Basically as folk who think digital engagement has value we need to keep an open mind (you are not the user etc) as to what tools/services can benefit our orgs. I find that is is easy and quick to sign-up to what ‘seems’ to be gaining a following and seeing if it sticks. For example twitter works well for us, facebook isn’t gaining much tract and somebody forgot to turn the lights out on the mailing lists. If we can manage a handful of these services we can cover many of our bases.

    I also think that the org accounts can act as a sort of gravity, pulling folks to the real core of the org which is of course the people ( in our sector anyway). Managed appropriately it is a win-win for the org, staff and those who seek to engage with us.

    See you on the next rocket/popular service?

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