This post started out as a rant about Twitter, but I’ve since changed my mind. A bit, at least.

Lately I’ve become really concerned that ‘social media’ and even ‘digital engagement’ has come to mean nothing but Twitter. It seems to be the first thing people say when talking about planning some online outreach with audiences of any kind.

‘We’ll tweet it, of course’

‘Ah great. So we can say we are doing social media as well. Good.’

People rarely ask what we’ll do if someone tweets back, or if our audience are interested in something else: a relevant forum or other online community.

Twitter is easier to measure. You can get lots of big numbers very quickly from Twitter, which sounds good.

Car speedometer

A big number isn’t always a good thing…

At BIS we’ve been just as guilty of riding the Twitter wave. But I’m calling time on any reference to Twitter as a central part of our digital engagement activity. We simply use it to listen, amplify messages and for the occasional Twitter chat. On its own, it won’t help us make better policy.

If we lost Twitter tomorrow, so what? My aim in the coming weeks and months is to make sure we’ve got better content and better examples of engagement (preferably not on our own channels at all).


I introduced myself to some senior colleagues recently. And it turned out they actively follow the corporate account. It is their front door to digital at BIS, and therefore something of an internal comms tool for us. It is the first thing people reference, and so it can be a useful ice breaker for getting colleagues involved.

So, after all, I guess I should temper my views on Twitter. Now, where did I put that digital plan…

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