Life Is Tweet

Some imaginative government offices across the country --  from the L.A. Fire Department to the U.S. Senate -- are experimenting with ways ...
by | September 29, 2008

Twitter_logo Some imaginative government offices across the country --  from the L.A. Fire Department to the U.S. Senate -- are experimenting with ways to use microblogging services such as Twitter to share information.

But so far I have only found a handful of senior government techies who are actually using these tools personally to connect with each other -- an observation that was reinforced by the limited Twitter traffic I saw about last week's meeting of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in Milwaukee.

Twitter is primarily a service for efficiently sharing short bursts of information with groups of friends and professional acquaintances. Many are turned off by the 140-character count, which keeps messages -- or "tweets" -- to a length that works as well on mobile phones as they do on the Web.

How much can you really convey in such a short space? A good bit, actually, if you work at it.

As a demonstration, here are some highlights from the NASCIO meeting, as posted by me throughout the week. (By the way, TinyURL is a service that allows you to turn long Web addresses into short, Twitter-friendly links.)....

First full day at the Nat'l Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) meeting in Milwaukee. Are @bwoolley and @dfletcher the only other Twitterers? 06:58 PM September 22, 2008 

Ex-PA gov./ex-Homeland Security Sec. Tom Ridge at NASCIO: "The only people I know who don't have 'special interests' are deceased." 07:08 PM September 22, 2008

Google Energy Czar Bill Weihl: 6 states (MN KS CO KY MI OR) have joined the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. 07:30 PM September 22, 2008

MI CIO Ken Theis muses at NASCIO: Is green IT a fad, politics, a critical need or a mandate? His vote: critical, and soon a mandate. 07:36 PM September 22, 2008

IN CIO (and ex-EDS'er) Gerry Weaver describes the role of gov't tech vendors (in a room full of them): "ravage, pillage, miss a deadline..." 07:41 PM September 22, 2008

VA CISO Peggy Ward: ~23K state workers eligible for some form of telework; +5K are doing so. (Notes prison guards are among the ineligible.) 08:54 PM September 22, 2008

Kathleen Hall Jamieson makes good points to state tech honchos at NASCIO about using plain talk, avoiding jargon. But.... (cont.) 07:21 PM September 23, 2008

(cont.).... undermines her suggestions by talking about "Ciceroian" sentences, dependent clauses and "telegraphy." 07:24 PM September 23, 2008

Partnership for Public Service's Bob Lavigna on the need for new gov't hiring practices:"We're going to end up w/the best of the desperate." 07:41 PM September 23, 2008

CIO Vivek Kundra: DC is "putting all the data we can in the public domain" for citizens, media, others to mine. 04:16 PM September 24, 2008

(cont.)... Kundra: DC planning cash challenge to find the best widget built with city data. Gov'ts "underestimate the power of raw data."  04:18 PM September 24, 2008 

There you go: a full conference worth of speaker highlights in less than 2,000 characters. But unless you actually were there, you did not get to see Minnesota CIO Gopal Khanna, NASCIO's new president, in full biker attire during the opening reception at Milwaukee's famed Harley-Davidson Museum.

If only he would agree to pose for pictures! That would have been worth a thousand tweets.