back to article Gov geek publishes 5000-word Twitter guide

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More than a mere lapsed comedy writer...

    He also rana comedy website.... so a safe pair of hands then.

  2. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge

    Who's interested?

    Purpose of Twitter: "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate"

    Question: what sort of sad bastard is going to 'follow' some civil service spindoctor? Who will count the Dept of Whatever-its-called-this-month amongst their friends and family?

    The only people likely to tune in to twits from govt PR types are the people who already have their names on the email list to get their press releases by email. Isn't this pretty pointless?

  3. Bilgepipe


    Well, the government is full of twits, there's no reason they shouldn't be using Twitter. There isn't a Moronner social networking site, after all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice work...

    Actually that report is a good piece of work. At least they do have a guide and not just leave it up to the individual to guess at things.

  5. Joe K


    Nowt wrong with this, few things more block-worthy than some numpty who goes on Twitter without a clue, like those fuckwits at Habitat who simply stuck the most popular hashtags on their tat offers (#iran, #michaeljackson, ect) a fortnight ago.

    But i prefer the guide from Stephen Frys Twitter-wife:

  6. John Latham


    Central government policy in 140 characters or less, without hyperlinks. Only a comedian would suggest such a thing.

    Terseness FTW!

  7. Jon Thompson 2

    5000 Words?

    It sounds like someone was dodging a more boring assignment by being seen to be thorough at this one!

  8. lorenzo
    Paris Hilton

    I've been working!

    All the time I spend on Twitter at the nation's expense is legitimate work. As is the time spent researching in pubs, changing wikipedia entries, posting on IT news sites, etc

    Paris- cos she knows a thing or two about gettin gothers to pay for her jolies

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're going to use it anyway.

    The bandwagon was going to be getting some new passengers anyway, so having a guide to tell them how to behave seems reasonable. And the ideas quite sensible, so really, kudos to him. Now lets make it enforceable so that those departments who get it wrong have to go around wearing a 'twat' sign.

    as in past tense of twitterer.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Scarily close to the truth

    The is also currently set to turd() every thirty minutes during vaguely plausible waking hours. Has Mr. Williams been looking over my shoulder?

    Credit, of course, to Matt and the crew over at the original site

    Web 3.0 - no human interaction required.

  11. Vincent Ballard

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

    Unless you're Gordon Brown.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other research..

    ...discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science.

    The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Governmentium appears to be inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

    A minute amount of Governmentium can refactor a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

    This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a level of concentration referred to as critical morass.

    When infused with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that absorbs twice as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    re. Governementium

    Pure class and scarily close to the truth.

  14. kurucu

    5000 words?

    5000 words? I thought you were limited to 140 characters?

    Do they have that many people laying around that they can spend time churning out documents on how to use popular web services? Do they have internal memos reminding them to look before crossing the road?

    "Hmmm, what else can we write about?" Newbie: "Saving the global economy and liberating the world from over-indulgent capitalists?" "Ha! You've a lot to learn, boy. Start with 'Which bit of your body to use when sitting down' "

  15. Kobus Botes

    @In other research..

    Sir, I salute you. Pure class!

  16. RW

    Whitehall sucks

    "an informal, ‘human’ voice of the organisation to promote comprehension of and engagement with our corporate messages".

    Corporate messages are by definition inhuman. Especially those coined by spinmeisters and dimwit greedy pols.

    Is it a human who wrote this screed, or has Labour developed artificial stupidity on the QT?

    One has to wonder if the author of those 5328 words had any idea just how silly they would look in broad daylight?

    Why is there no icon denoting "sucks big-time"?

  17. windywoo

    This is so they can keep us up to date on...

    their expenses and how they're abusing them this week. :p

    "New duck island is finally finished and it didn't cost me a penny!"

    "Needed a new kitchen for second home. Put it on expenses, it's so handy."

  18. iamapizza
    Thumb Down

    Self proclaimed geeks

    Tip: If you need to proclaim that you are a geek, then you are, unquestionably, not.

  19. Christopher Martin

    Max of ten

    "tweets - should be spaced at least 30 minutes apart, with a minimum of two tweets and a max of ten."

    I'm confused - did I misread, is the recommendation that a person should never tweet more than ten times in his lifetime, or did some hack paraphrase this incorrectly?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Actually, I think it's a good idea

    Given how much in contact with the "real World" most MPs and Lords/Ladies seem to be, anything that might help them to connect to the voters is a good thing.

    Of course, you just /know/ that it will all be Spin of one sort or another, and that the only time they will take any notice of what other people write is when it says they got it right - most MPs seems to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to understanding that thier constituents might not see things the same way the MP does, but that doesn't mean that the voters are a bunch of know-nothing fools who can be safely ignored. The last by-election should have proved that.

    Besides, it's hard for a mere HoP drone to tell an MP that telling constituents to go away (only in slightly less delicate terms) when they disagree is a Bad Thing (isn't it, "the /other/ Michael Foster?")

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Governmentium

    .Has this research been peer reviewed? Elementary, my dear Lord Mandeltwit. As it emerges from your very own department sir, it requires only the Lordly approval of your good self and your clearly under employed subordinates.

    Now sir, may we return to more pressing matters such as how we should achieve the urgent cuts that have to achieved in the public sector services in order to justify our very own twittering existence. Any suggestions, sir?

  22. asiaseen

    Pardon me for asking, but

    "...a number of our stakeholders as well as millions of businesses, non government organisations and individuals."

    I was under the obviously false impression that those millions of businesses, non government organisations and individuals are the stakeholders in government.

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