The subcouncil team has had some active discussions about policy aspects of Twitter for government agencies over the past few weeks. At a time when Government agencies are starting to actively engage with constituents using social media tools, there’s still different schools of thought about how to approach Twitter.
On a recent episode of Government 2.0 Radio, the point was raised that government agencies are now listening to the conversation happening online, but there’s still some hesitancy to actually engage in conversation.
Questions come to mind about whom to follow and when to engage in the conversation. Twitter is no different than any other social media tool: how you use it really depends on your communication goals.
For the Massachusetts Governor’s Office, the rules of engagement are clear, and posted right online.
-They follow people who follow them.
-They use Twitter to connect citizens with government and to get feedback.
-They review and update “as much as possible”, along with other channels of feedback, outreach and engagement.
-They explain how the feedback they receive on Twitter is incorporated in the same way as feedback they receive through more conventional channels.
Some agencies have yet to take the plunge into full engagement. They aren’t following anyone. They may be monitoring @ replies, but are not responding directly to them in the public forum. Although this cautious approach may be appropriate under certain circumstances, does it send the wrong message about openness and willingness to engage?
There are probably 101 uses for Twitter, so there’s probably no 100% correct answer here. In establishing best practices for Twitter use by government entities, we want to consider all factors.
The Social Media Subcouncil asks you: what are your rules of engagement? How do you use Twitter, and how do you engage with followers?
Marilyn Clark is the Manager of Online Communications and Services for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and a member of the Social Media Subcouncil. You can connect with her on Twitter or GovLoop.