Twitter has a 136-page handbook for politicians trying to stay out of trouble on social media.
It’s tricky to maneuver the minefield that is social media. Emily Thornberry famously had to resign from the shadow cabinet last year after posting a photo on Twitter and immediately feeling the wrath of the crowd. The Islington MP tweeted a photo of a white van parked in front of a house bedecked with England flags, captioning it “Image from #Rochester”.
But she’s far from the only public figure to have fallen foul of the medium. Brooks Newmark had to resign after tweeting saucy photos to an undercover journalist posing as a PR woman, Diane Abbott landed herself in hot water after claiming that “white people love to divide and rule” and Ed Miliband, well, he really should have double-checked his spelling to avoid a really rather disastrous typo.
In short: It isn’t easy.
Now Twitter is trying to lend a hand: It’s helpfully put together a manual to help politicians and other public figures stay out of trouble. More than that, it’s a general guide to how to use the social media network.
The “Twitter Government and Elections Handbook” is 136 pages long - and it’s hilarious. (You can read it here.)
It covers everything in minute detail, taking an impressive 25 pages just to reach the perhaps rather key question “What is Twitter?”.
Other gems include “Where do tweets appear?”, “You don’t have to ask permission to follow” and instructions on how to appear like a normal person including “Tweet about your favourite TV shows”.
Twitter’s Bridget Coyne told NPR that the manual had been “wildly popular”:
We don't want to make assumptions. We want to make sure that people feel empowered with the full story of what Twitter is. And knowing it from its basic end of, "If I've never seen this platform, what does it entail?"