Civil servants told to be more “social media savvy”

Cabinet Office releases social media guidance to get more officials online

By Sarah.Aston

26 Feb 2015

Civil servants have been told to use more social media as part of a Cabinet Office drive to improve Whitehall’s digital skills.

According the Cabinet Office’s Digital and Technology Skills Matrix, released yesterday, officials working in digital and technology areas of government are now expected to follow the media activities of both their department and the Government Digital Service (GDS).

“Social media is everywhere. It’s becoming more and more a part of how we live our lives today and as government we can’t afford to miss the incredible opportunities it affords us,” guidance said.

“As a minimum you should track the names of your department and any associated ministers or high-profile staff members.”

Speaking at a digital event on Tuesday evening, minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said that government must do more to understand the impact of social media on politics.

Referring to the use of Twitter and Facebook in last year’s Scottish independence referendum, Maude said: “In the period running up to the actual vote, the polling narrowed and went from a pretty steady two to one against [Scottish independence] to almost a 10% gap [between the two sides].

“I’m not sure we understand yet how much of that movement was influenced by, and driven by the use of digital technology and social media.”

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