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Working at BIS and using Twitter

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Capability

If you're a member of staff (on a contract or otherwise) at BIS, then you're subject to the Civil Service Code. There's some useful information here about how the code applies to use of social media.

At BIS we encourage staff to adopt social media channels like Twitter when:

  • it helps you read about what your audience is saying or thinking
  • you want to promote a very niche topic that perhaps doesn't fit with the department's priorities, or is aimed at a very specific audience
  • you can build your network of peers and contacts
  • you test ideas and ask questions

Personal Twitter isn't for announcements, statements or anything sensitive. Check with your line manager if you're not sure, and if in doubt, leave it out.

Twitter accounts work best when they are personal. People want to connect with real people, not corporate accounts. We don't encourage team accounts.

If you're worried that your activities outside of work might compromise your professional reputation, you probably need to ask yourself if you're in the right job. Generally, and within reason, it's fine to tweet about a pint after work, or a holiday, or a difficult commute.

But twitter is most useful when you use it to understand what people are thinking, and connect with useful people.

If you already have a Twitter account, then keep using it. Make sure:

  • the bio is up to date, with your name and job title
  • makes it clear this is a personal account
  • includes a photo of you

If you are setting up an account for the first time and you plan to use it partly to help you in your work:

  • try and pick a Twitter handle (the @XXXX bit) that's clear - ideally it will include your name and BIS (
  • start by searching for people you know in and out of work
  • download the app for your phone, and dip into it a few times a day - don't try to block a fixed time for Twitter each day, and definitely don't feel obliged to read all of your timeline: you wouldn't read all of Google after all
  • search for words using the search box, look people up, and if you like something then retweet it
  • share links - got some work you're proud of, or a photo of something you've seen? Tweet it
  • if you disagree with something, or really like something, then reply to the person who posted it and tell them
  • remember to keep an eye on the @ notifications feed as this will tell you when someone has followed you, asked you a question or retweeted something that you have posted
  • it's important to respond wherever possible, nothing is less interesting than a broadcast account: someone constantly publishing status updates about where they've been or what they're doing

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