Twitter Guide for Government: Tweet in First Person

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


OK. This may sound like strange advice for an organization that frequently issues
highly impersonal press releases: “Minister Soandso to visit site of the new WidgetrUs TWEET factory.” But experience has shown time and again that an individual on Twitter will beat out an anonymous organization hands down on followers, retweets, etc. So find a way to add humanity to your streams if you can.

There are three ways you can do this.

1- Find one or more spokesperson(s) to tweet on behalf of the organizations. Even if most of the tweets are clearly organizational, a few more personal tweets here and there will go a long way. (This is the official Twitter account of the Department of Deep Pockets. Deputy Minister Lint and his staff will be tweeting with you)

2- Mention first names of some of the people who will be doing the actual tweeting for the organization in the profile (This is the official Twitter account of the Department of Friendliness. Marc, Lindsey and Todd will be tweeting with you.)

3- Brand an account to a senior executive. For example, An embassy Twitter account could have a picture and bio of the ambassador and tweet in the first person about the mission’s activities:

  • I am attending a meeting of the business association of Prague    
  • My staff and I are attending a benefit concert with local artists performing live.

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