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9/2/2009
02:06 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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California Government High On Twitter

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is turning to Twitter to get ideas on how to help the financially struggling state. He's asking residents to tweet ideas for improving California, which the government is compiling on a Web site, Myidea4CA.com.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is turning to Twitter to get ideas on how to help the financially struggling state. He's asking residents to tweet ideas for improving California, which the government is compiling on a Web site, Myidea4CA.com.Schwarzenegger says he got the idea during a visit to Twitter headquarters:

During a conversation Wednesday at Twitter's headquarters with company founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Schwarzenegger said Twitter has "tremendous power and insight." He said the idea came from a Twitter user that he should autograph some state-owned cars and bicycles for sale at the Great California Garage Sale on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29. The governor said the Twitter-generated ideas also could be used for issues like solving the state's water woes.

Schwarzenegger is himself an avid Twitter user, with about 1 million followers. He has the 100th most popular Twitter account. and is one of only 103 users with more than a million followers.

Schwarzenegger is asking participants in the idea campaign to include the text #Myidea4CA in their tweets, a process known as "hashtagging." By including a hashtag in tweets, Twitter users tag their tweets as part of larger conversations. The Myidea4CA.com site uses additional hashtags to organize the tweets by category, and the site also organizes suggestions by recency, popularity, and number of comments, and allows people to vote on suggestions with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, as well as comment on them. Some popular suggestions include:

@bryanandrews: "#myidea4ca #bgt #elo SOx makes corp officers sign off on their books. Apply same standard to state officers. Make leadership certify budget"

@adalian: "#myidea4ca #egy http://myidea4ca.com Build state-owned generators on the aqueducts. That water never stops flowing. Use it!"

@creepus: "#myidea4ca #env http://myidea4ca.com Create our own stimulus with public works jobs repairing infrastructure, recycling, solarizing houses"

But the most popular suggestions, early on, have a more counter-culture flair:

Early results suggest that the public's most popular idea is legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana, a possibility Schwarzenegger himself floated earlier this year as state legislators struggled to close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Just think of the possibilities! Legalizing marijuana would cut down on enforcement and imprisonment costs, create a new, taxable industry in California, and boost sales of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Phish MP3s!

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on leading-edge government IT -- and how the technology involved may end up inside your business. Download the report here (registration required).

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