How to: Governing social media at work

This is a wonderfully illustrated step-by-step guide around issues of social media governance by Fibonacci Design. It covers everything from the fears and benefits of social media through to thinking about creating policies. For anyone in the role of HR and communications this is really worth looking through.

Twitter template strategy

Neil Williams, head of corporate digital channels at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has put together a template twitter strategy for government departments and made it available, to share and mash-up, via Scribd (see below).

The document is incredibly thorough – from clear objectives and success measurements through to how much time it takes to maintain – and a good starting point not just for government departments but brands, businesses and other organisations. The document could also be used to audit your current brand presence and help identify how it might be improved.

Neil explains why as an exercise in putting it together it was worth while, by stating:

[…] some of the benefits I’ve found of having this document in my armoury are:

* To get buy-in, explain Twitter’s importance to non-believers and the uninitiated, and face down accusations of bandwagon-jumping
* To set clear objectives and metrics to make sure there’s a return on the investment of staff time (and if there isn’t, we’ll stop doing it)
* To make sure the channel is used consistently and carefully, to protect corporate reputation from silly mistakes or inappropriate use
* To plan varied and interesting content, and enthuse those who will provide it into actively wanting to do so.
* As a briefing tool for new starters in the team who will be involved in the management of the channel

So, possibly before trying to convince the boss that Twitter is worth while… “honest”, it’s perhaps worth taking some time putting together a strategy that will help them see:

  • How it will benefit the business – ensure you consider potential customers/clients and if they use the service
  • How activity will be measured
  • Success criteria and measurement
  • How the feed will be managed
  • The kinds of relevant content that will appear
  • What editorial considerations may need to take place

You may also wish to consider if individuals within the business or organisation should also be tweeting on behalf of the brand – this decision should be made on a case by case basis, although there are arguments being made for only having individuals tweet on their company’s behalf.

Reboot Britain notes: Policy making in the future

What follows is a slightly edited version of the notes I made during the Policy Making in the Future session. Robin Grant of WeAreSocial requested that I send them over to him, so thought I may as well pop them here. The emphasis here is getting up what took place in a raw data form. Hence they’re a bit rough and ready, but I hope useful.

Session: Policy making in the Future
Chair: Mick Fealty, Slugger O’
Panelists: Steph Grey (Department of Business, Innovation & Skills), David Price (Debate Graph), Deborah Szebeko (ThinkPublic).

Steph Gray
I’m from the communications team at BIS, I’m not a policy official, not represting BIS today, these are just some thoughts really:

How policy is made:

  • Identification: minister wants problem solved
  • Analysis
  • Consultation

But, the internet changes things. With the internet we’re in a poistion to get lots of people involved. Henace three big questions:

  • where do the clever ideas come from?
  • who chooses the solutions?
  • how do we make change happen?

We’re (the government) beginning to see and do enlightened policy discussion online

  • Commentable documents
  • Video (see Building Britain’s Future) – a multimedia policy document
  • Blogs (eg. Defra)


  • The numbers involved are still tiny
  • People are still cynical abot online gimmicks
  • Not all contributions equally helpful
  • Gov isn’t geared up for mass dialogue
  • The incentives on bothe sides are both wrong

Three Goals for future

  • A wider range of contributors
  • Better ideas
  • Conversation which goes somewhere

Policy deliberation in the future?

Different folks for different strokes
Take key facts and make into quizes
Create widgets for bloggers like Tom Watson

Try and make the debate more accessible:
Examples: debate graph, Open Gov initiative (US), Simply Understand

David Price
Debate Graph – collaborative thinking

“There are always more smart people outside gov than inside”
But how do you make sense of it?
Problems of repeatition

We’re (debate graph) focussing on the underlying ideas
Represent the idea just once (one submission), which people can then refine, rate, vote for

We break down the ideas into small chunks eg. building blocks of: Question, suggesiont, reason
This can include as much depth as you need and diff media – eg. video
Enables externalisation of communities thoughts

Challenge: make it simple and easy and means for distribution (see Independent climate change pages)

The people/organisations using Debate Graph:

  • Downing Street
  • RSA
  • Independent (newspaper)
  • European Commission

Deborah Szebeko
Think Public (social innovation and design)

A lot of information out there is hard to understand, how do you de-jargon? Design is one way forward


  • Using language
  • Choice – drawing, using video
  • Format eg. Dragon’s Den (Pitch your project)

“What does success look like?” (Ross Fergusson)

Steph – For me success is:

  • Have you got a wider range of people involved
  • Are we getting better ideas through
  • Does the conversation continue

Deborah – It’s about how do you build sustainability

David – drawing in ideas that you wouldn’t have gathered before, process continues through the policy implementation – iterative, experiemental development

A short explanation of the Digital Britain Unconferences

I’ve been asked to put together a short, formal explanation of the Digital Britain Unconferences, so I thought I may as well put it up here too:


The Digital Britain Unconferences were a set of UK-wide, grass roots events quickly set up in reaction to the British Library hosted ‘Digital Britain Summit’ on 17 April 2009. Their aim was to produce a representative ‘people’s response’ and gather set of positive, realistic contributions for the report.

A week after the Summit, and with a nod from the Digital Britain team that they were listening, a website was launched with these simple instructions:

“Anyone can attend or hold an event and associate it with Digital Britain Unconferences, you’ll just need to summarise your discussions and hold it by 13th May 2009! Yes, time is very tight.”

By the 13th May, twelve unconferences had taken place from Glasgow in the north to Truro in the south west. All attendees were encouraged to read the Interim Report and the level of engagement and serious thinking across each event was exemplary. The events included a virtual discussion focusing on rural issues related to Digital Britain and a family unconference held in Tutbury, Derbyshire, as well as large events of over 50 people in London and Manchester.

Such a speedy reaction was made possible by the free social media tools such as Yahoo Groups, Twitter, wikis, blogs and instant messaging. Few phone calls were made by the organisers. The process exemplifies what is possible for Digital Britain when these tools are combined with channeling existing loosely connected networks and motivations.

As Clay Shirky describes this phenomenon in Here Comes Everyboody:

“When we change how we communicate, we change society.”