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Do you know what private investigators do? Do you want to find out on Twitter?

(If you found this through a search and it’s not what you are looking for, here is a list of anti-stalking resources. PIs are licensed, trained, and usually highly ethical.)

In my professional life, I presently work as a municipal investigator. I’m also a licensed private investigator in California. Interesting to me, really the biggest thing the license does – other than allow us to represent ourselves as PIs – is allow us to take pay for following people. Don’t try that without it!

In my job, I mostly do analysis, records searches and interviews. Sometimes I get really interesting cases, sometimes I’m simply buried in paperwork. At the top of my game, I get to investigate things like sex slave trafficking, tiger attacks, slumlords and employee fraud. Private eyes do everything from finding lost relatives to researching executive to obtaining evidence of illicit trysts.

Using Twitter, I’m working to get a number of PIs using the hashtag #pilife, aggregating snapshots of our work and giving you a window into a very interesting profession. At the same time, I hope if you’re in need of a PI’s services, you’ll check out the tag as well (note – I do not presently take private cases, but many of my friends do). Just one of the many ways we can use Twitter to both entertain and enrich each other.

And what do you want to see PIs tweeting about?

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“For the danger in fine words is that they live from a life of their own. They are servants of distinction, that have kept their titles but no longer perform their functions — of which royal courts offer us example. You speak well, write well, and all is said. How many people content themselves with speaking, and believe that it exempts them from acting?  And those who listen are content with having heard them. So it sometimes happens that a life may in the end be made up of a few well-turned speeches, a few fine books, and a few great plays. As for practicing what is so magisterially set forth, that is the last thing thought of.

“And if we pass from the world of talent to spheres which the mediocre exploit, there, in a pell-mell of confusion, we see those who think that we are in the world to talk and hear others talk — the great and hopeless rout of babblers, of everything that prates, bawls, and perorates and, after all, finds that there isn’t talking enough. They all forget that those who make the least noise do the most work. An engine that expends all its steam in whistling, has nothing left with which to turn wheels. Then let us cultivate silence. All that we can save in noise we gain in power.”

– Charles Wagner

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Interested in Government 2.0 and social media? Here’s a great beginners list of cool Twitter people:

@krazykriz – amazing Government 2.0 collaborator, co-founder of http://www.iampublicservice.com

@ariherzog – he’s a giving networker and a real pro

@trib – smart, helpful Aussie, check!

@CCseed – because everybody needs Jung quotes; he just got high speed net, so watch out!

@You2Gov – it’s our democracy, dammit!

@meghan1018 – the only twitter mom I follow?/my cool local peep

@bobgower – bobcanhelp

@anthonyidem – he gets it, and stays humble

@amcafee – because #andyasks is so darn fun!

@helenmosher – if she follows anyone else, Helen will never finish grad school!; SignalMag

@THE_REAL_SHAQ – More powerful than a locomotive, and @ChrisBrogan, even!

@msunitedstates – Did you know Ms. US is a big-time social media grrl? She’s got 3 accounts.

#govloop – hash-tag search for members of Steve Ressler’s GovLoop.com, the community for Gov 2.0 innovators.

Sign on to Twitter/add your handle in the comments!

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As Wall Street reels, a common discussion thread is the horror if Bush had pushed through his plan to privatize Social Security. And those of us in government and the few private sector folks with defined benefit retirement plans are still feeling good. But all this chaos is reminding me of a theme I found in my last major research project for the San Francisco Examiner back in 2005. The meat of my findings – as I pored over then-newly released records of management fees paid to private equity managers by the California Public Employees Retirement System – never made print. And the findings were troubling. I found a clear correlation between political contributions to elected officials with seat or appointments to the board and business those contributors got from CalPERS. This is big, serious business.

I know that my analysis of the data was highly interpretive – there was no smoking gun, only troubling trends. However, as an active networker, I know the benefits of face time and exposure. Handshakes at fundraisers tend to help handshakes after a vote on equity management and management fees. To help ensure the long-term future of public retirement plans, I highly favor a ban on donations by equity managers doing business with the public pensions, or radical reform in how the boards are constituted.

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