The Princess and the Tweet

Once upon a time…

My colleague Gwenny (@princessgwenny) has done a great post on the BIS digital blog about her first three months on Twitter and the issues that – at some point of other – civil servants face.

It’s a really honest post that runs from the professional/personal boundary issues to tweeting personal opinion, and struggling to be part of the conversation.  As more established users of tools like Twitter,  it’s quite easy to forget some of these issues.  They get blunter through familiarity.  So posts like this are a useful reminder, a sense check to put ourselves in other people’s (newish) shoes.

And the issues are more pronounced for civil servants.  But Gwenny’s post takes us back to the key point of the Cabinet Office Social Media Guidelines that are now almost a year old.  I still get asked regularly, “what are the rules”, what are civil servants allowed to do online, so it’s worth reiterating those principles.

One thing that Gwenny’s post has solidified for me is that people closest to the policy are best placed to talk about it.  I loved her analogy of trying to join a clique – if you’re already part of that clique – and know the community offline, then it pays to join in in as many ways as you can – within reason, and still focussing on the day job – as opposed to expecting engagement to always stem from corporate digital teams. And in a neat circle, Gwenny’s post reminds us of the issues faced in starting out on that road.

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