Roles for Twitter in public sector communications

Roles for Twitter in public sector communications

A useful summary of potential uses for Twitter in public sector communications, thanks to Dave Fleet:

  • Early-warning issues management – identify emerging issues early before they bubble up to the media;
  • Monitoring reaction – through persistent Twitter searches, departments can track sentiment, content and other trends in reaction to announcements;
  • Direct-to-citizen communication – Twitter, and other social media tools, can help organizations communicate directly with their target audiences rather than going through the filter of the media;
  • Put a face on the organization – government often suffer from being faceless organizations, while politicians seem aloof. Social media tools in general can help to counteract this;
  • Emergency management – emergency coordinators need to get information out quickly to people in an emergency; Twitter could even work at a hyper-local level;
  • Raise awareness of resources – government websites can be impenetrable mazes, designed by committee to placate competing silos with information buried deep inside the site. Twitter can help to point people to the right place;
  • Identifying resources and information – a more individual use, which worked for me – Twitter can be invaluable for finding answers and identifying resources for those last-minute requests (contrary to popular opinion, government communications can move very quickly at times) – just throw the request or question out there for a rapid response

I’d add to Dave’s list:

  • Customer service – providing another alternative point of access for customers to public sector services
  • Community building – reaching out to people in the community with shared interests to help build a group or coalition about a particular issue or topic – often people that wouldn’t ordinarily come into contact with the public sector

What other uses can you think of?


I work with technology-centric businesses as an interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), consultant and advisor. I created the B3 framework® for scaling technology businesses and I write a newsletter called Build for leaders who are building brilliant companies.