A Guide for Using Twitter in Government

On behalf of the IBM Center for The Business of Government, we are pleased to present this report, Working the Network:  A Manager’s Guide for Using Twitter in Government, by Ines Mergel, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

As of this writing, the federal government operates over 1,000 Twitter feeds . Federal civilian agencies maintain over 360 Twitter feeds, while the Department of Defense hosts more than 650 . In addition to its official English feed, the State Department produces Twitter feeds in Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Spanish, and French . It is fair to say that the federal government is embracing Twitter as a tool for citizen engagement .

But is government realizing the panoply of benefits that a comprehensive understanding of this tool promises? Beyond acting as a broadcasting channel—supplementing the website by promoting press releases or announcing new initiatives—Twitter can help agencies follow public conversations on issues relevant to their organizations .

Like many technological tools, Twitter does not come with an instruction manual . To help both government executives who must decide whether Twitter is a useful tool for their organizations and frontline managers who will create and administer the Twitter account, Ines Mergel has written this guide, detailing the benefits—and risks—of hosting a Twitter feed, as well as the specifics on how to maintain a Twitter feed to achieve optimum results.

Read the entire report at Working the Network.