This afternoon California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sat down for a live webcast conversation with the co-founders of Twitter, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. Williams, Twitter's CEO, and Stone, introduced the Governor as a leader who has vision and perspective about how to use technology to help the world, an ideal they talk often about aspiring to. Schwarzenegger Tweets, like a lot of other politicians, but he also is hoping to use Twitter to leverage the wisdom of California's crowds.
Schwarzenegger is pushing exposure for a Twitter-powered forum, that pulls in all Tweets tagged with #MyIdea4CA, for Californians to share ideas, comment, and vote on ways to change the state and help it through the budget crisis. Twitter has helped Schwarzenegger set up the forum so you can easily give a thumbs up or down to a tweet. Ideas are categorized into 18 areas from education to water management, and state employees working in these areas can easily access these ideas on these open forum. And maybe the fact that these ideas are all out there -- the online conversations are all open -- will push the state government to really implement change. The garage sale today? That idea came through Twitter.
Twitter's co-founders asked Schwarzenegger what he thinks they should do to improve the service and make it more useful. He talked a lot about the power of technology, all the way to Iran, where Twitter became a tool for democracy, he talked about how useful Twitter is, but he didn't give the Twitter guys directives about what they should do next. There were plenty of jokes about how Twitter needs a weight room after Schwarzenegger talked about how he helped encourage physical fitness across the country. This sit down became a pretty casual conversation about the state's issues from water infrastructure to physical education to the question of whether legalizing gambling can help balance the budget.
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Is this, vocalizing the questions of millions of Twitter users, the new role for Twitter's co-founders? Twitter opens up dialog between politicians and the rest of the world. Here the Twitter guys speak the questions of the masses in a lighthearted setting and make the virtual conversations in the cloud tangible. Is this the kind of dialog the Twitter guys *should* engage in to bring the scope of its users and their engagement to life? It's not a bad idea. Profitability? That's still down the line.
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