Some of you will have mixed feelings about this but every major news feed out of the UK government now has it’s own twitter account. What’s interesting about this is the whole process is unofficial. I’ve no doubt Tom Watson will be delighted, but what will the COI make of this unofficial use of information? -They’re already working on improving websites, hopefully they will understand this as an improvement in their web presence.
I’m going to quote Geof Cole, who has done this deed:
The Central Office of Information run a rather good website called the News Distribution Service, formerly the Government News Network. Below the fold are the RSS and Twitter feeds in three groups – aggregate, departmental and regional.
Unfortunately, no-one knows about it as the COI doesn’t do much to promote it despite being “the Government’s centre of excellence for marketing and communications”. It consists of news updates for all the big bits of government – departments, agencies and regions – that you could want. It’s a good way of keeping an eye on what they’re all up to an finding the occasional hidden gem of a press release. They’ve had RSS feeds for ages and now they’re on Twitter (thanks to yours truly).
I do hope someone in government picks up the admin for this. If you want to see a full list of the feeds, including your regional one, then here’s a link to Geoff’s blog.
Update, others on this:
Neil Williams: “It’s likely there will be lots of crossover between Dave’s NDS-fuelled feeds and these civil servant powered accounts, so choose wisely which to follow. The human-edited tweets will offer more than just press releases but they might also be selective about the news they deem tweet-worthy.”
This is a smart move, maybe not the most useful Twitter accounts ever but that it was simple and free to do — and may distribute the messages more widely — is more important than whether the information is really suited to Twittering.
If they get a few subscribers maybe the departments might like to open actuall communication channels.
I see the West Mids feed has only three followers so far (and two of them are me and you Nick) so although it’s early days for the feed, it’s fair to say not many people know about it. For example, I’m pretty sure clued-up local Tories such as Mike Flower would be interested, even if it’s to find ways to make mischief!
I’m not sure how many people will want to subscribe to the feeds but it was a worth a crack and, over time, they might build up a bit of a following.
Thanks for the shout-out.