Twitter Guide for Government Agencies: Bullying

Download the PDF: Thou Shalt Tweet! 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter


As a government agency, you certainly want to give some authority to your account and discourage spoofers who may want to intentionally mislead the public. And certainly you will want to report to Twitter any accounts that appear to be intentionally spoofing your account and/or tweeting misleading information.

But! This does not give you a license to go on a witch hunt on Twitter. This includes reporting or threatening anyone with legal action over coincidental and unintentional similarities with your name, trademark, or other. Nothing will get you on the wrong end of a Twitter storm faster and your organization’s reputation can be permanently damaged.

The fact is that some people might have created a Twitter account in order to push out your information out of sheer concern for their fellow citizens. They probably did so because you weren’t doing it and they willingly filled the void. The best thing for your organization is to try to get these people on board. Let them know you created an official account. Encourage them to re-tweet your tweets. In short, this is a golden opportunity to create brand advocates.

Get your account verified if you can. If not, make sure you have your Twitter account properly branded and have links to and from your official government website.

Complete Listing of All 15 Twitter Commandments

This guide evolved from a post by Alain Lemay on GovLoop titled “Who Not to Follow On Twitter: A Guide for Public Sector Employees.” Alain is a Senior Web Communications Analyst for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Agency in Canada. He graciously donated his time to assist in producing the 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter Guide in tandem with the GovLoop team.

  1. Thou Shalt Listen Before You Leap
  2. Thou Shalt Use Thy Profile Information Properly
  3. Thou Shalt Have a Disclaimer
  4. Thou Shalt Not Be a Bully (Nobody Likes a Bully!)
  5. Thou Shalt Tweet Regularly
  6. Thou Shalt Integrate My Tweet Approval Process
  7. Thou Shalt Not Register Alternate Accounts
  8. Thou Shalt Not Automate Thy Tweets
  9. Thou Tweet In the First Person
  10. Thou Shalt Not Bait and Switch
  11. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  12. Thou Shalt Be Selective About Who You Follow
  13. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Account
  14. Thou Shalt Contribute to the Conversation
  15. Thou Shalt Measure for Success