Following the news that the Cabinet Office has hired a "Twitter tsar", or director of digital engagement, government departments are now being strongly encouraged to Twitter.

Neil Williams, the head of corporate digital channels at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has published a 20-page guidelines document online, in order to "make sure the channel is used consistently and carefully, to protect corporate reputation from silly mistakes or inappropriate use".

Wiliams says: "The platform is experiencing a phenomenal adoption curve in the UK and being used increasingly by government departments, members of parliament, a number of our stakeholders as well as millions of business, non government organisations and individuals".

Twitter is seen as an opportunity to "provide an informal, 'human' voice". Williams explains: "It is free to use with a relatively low impact on resources and has the potential to deliver many benefits in support of our communications objectives".

The document advises Twittering should take "less than hour a day", although "evaluation will take longer: approximately 1 day every 3 months".