twitter: to feed (news) or not to feed (news), that is the question
Yes, I announced the Estonian government (our client) is now using Twitter and yes we did, and do, encourage them to use Twitter (we sent them general information) I would like to point out that, despite appearances, altex did not advise them on their launch strategy.
However, whilst I can understand some people’s desire to see sufficient resources being allocated to government so they could fund a “proactive twitter office” (btw where should the money come from? Health budget? IT? Education?) I also feel its quite legitimate for a government to “put a toe in the twitter water” and offer a simple newsfeed service via Twitter.
It’s better than nothing and who knows it may lead to more innovation in governmental usage of social media.
Tentative experimental steps like this should be applauded and not criticised without much thought or government people might revert to taking the “no one got shot for buying an IBM approach” and do nothing with social media until everyone else is.
Financial resources are tight for the Estonian government right now and I am not sure that the sort of innovation some people are calling for is a valid use of those dwindling budgets.
It’s also worth noting that whilst some people praise Downing Streets approach to Twitter, not everyone is buying in:
Matthew Sinclair, research director at the (UK) TaxPayers’ Alliance recently warned that the Government was becoming “obsessed” with the latest “internet fads” at the expense of putting information across “affordably”. Source
I would also urge people to read this post by Matt Wardman about the various Newsfeed services offered by the Central Office of Information. The COI feeds use the Twitterfeed service to port News Feeds onto Twitter – so, unlike the Downing Street feed, they simply carry headlines rather than any chatter.
So in summary, I applaud the Estonian government for moving on to Twitter but also like many others hope they find the time and money to make more use of the channel but I do not think there is anything wrong in using Twitter to feed news.