FG Twitter users told to 'take criticism on the chin' in social media protocol

A team of digital media experts has given Fine Gael TDs tips on using Twitter, including advising them to take criticism on the chin like US president Barack Obama.

The party’s TDs and Senators who use Twitter have been warned “to expect dissent and abuse in equal measure” in the party’s new social media behaviour protocol.

Issued to members of the parliamentary party yesterday, it says “Taking criticism on the chin (like Obama) and keeping your finger on the pulse when it comes to trending topics online is crucial for any representatives’ social media prowess.”

Tweets from political rivals Fianna Fáil are criticised for their “impersonal tone” and being “not only uninspiring but incredibly boring” in the in-house best-practice guide.


Fine Gael’s digital media team in party headquarters suggests thinking of hashtags “as the theme of your tweet” and among the existing hashtags suggested for use are #tcot which means “top conservatives on Twitter”, according to the document. Advice on the “correct crisis procedure” to use “if you find yourself under attack on Twitter” to “avoid the bulk of any aftershocks from a potentially harmful situation” is provided.

“It is wise to expect some level of disagreement on social media. The traditional barriers of authority and hierarchy are lowered and you need to be able to manage accordingly.”

TDs and Senators are told to block users only as a last resort and never block or delete comments just because someone disagrees with them.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Features Editor of The Irish Times