The Governor and Twitter

Article by Rob Quigley, Social Media Director, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger posted on The Tech Blog on 6/10/10

Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger sat down in front of a live streaming camera and took questions tweeted to him from his 1.7 million Twitter followers. We call this type of real-time question and answer discussion a “Tweetcast,” a format the Governor has used several times in the past year to elicit direct feedback and to communicate directly with the public. This is a great opportunity for anyone watching to ask him about whatever is on their mind and the Governor compares the experience to people walking up to him on the street. Moderated by his press secretary Aaron McLear, the Governor spent 30 minutes taking questions about his May Revise Budget proposal, corporate tax breaks, what he likes to do in his spare time, economic development, the T-shirt he wore in the film Pumping Iron, workout tips and more.
Behind the scenes at my tweetcast – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

As you would imagine, his Tweetcast spurred a tremendous amount of activity across the web. Using the hashtag #q4gov, we instantly received thousands of tweeted questions and still a week later comments and Retweets about the Governor’s Tweetcast are still coming in. It was apparent this format struck a chord with the public when a number of the questions thanked the Governor for making himself personally accessible and asked if he would teach other elected officials how to Tweetcast. If you go to http://tweetcast.in, you can see all of the comments related to Gov. @Schwarzenegger’s stream continuously around the clock. It’s a great destination to view the Governor’s live events or catch up on recent webcasts and tweet about them with others.

Besides being one of the early, high profile users of Twitter, the Governor’s interest in the company is pretty well known. He’s always interested in learning more about creative, popular tech startups, particularly if they are located in California. Last August, when he toured Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, he sat down for a webchat with co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams and talked about Twitter’s amazing ability to enable individuals to communicate with so many people at one time. He called Twitter innovative and energetic and says the company is changing the way the world uses the web and how people communicate. So both in theory and in practice, the Governor’s a big fan of Twitter and connecting with his followers. And if you watched his last Tweetcast you know he’s already looking forward to the next one when he ended it with the words, “I’ll be back.”