In a 27-second clip posted Tuesday, the husky governor addresses the Twittersphere while holding a two-foot-long knife.
While the state wrestles with a $26 billion deficit, the celebrity turned Republican governor posted the video as a thank-you to constituents for their ideas on how to pay down the massive deficit, particularly one suggestion to autograph and then auction off state-owned cars.
"Hey guys, I just want to say thanks very much for all the great ideas you're giving me," he said. "You come up with great ideas. Why not just sign the cars since you're a celebrity governor? Sign the cars and sell it for more money. … That's exactly what we're going to do."
According to The Associated Press, Schwarzenegger's spokesman Aaron McLear said the knife was a gift from a friend and arrived Tuesday. He also said the governor actually does intend to sign state vehicles before they're auctioned off in late August. Officials estimate that selling 15 percent of the state's 40,000 government-owned cars could raise about $24 million.
When a reporter asked Schwarzenegger Wednesday whether the video was appropriate, given how seriously the budget cuts are affecting the lives of some Californians, the governor went on the defense.
"Not that I have fun with making the cuts -- they sadden me -- but ... that doesn't mean that you cannot wave a knife around, or to wave your sword around, to get the message across that certain cuts have to be made because it's budget time," Schwarzenegger said during a news conference.
Schwarzenegger's not the first public figure to court controversy on Twitter.
Most would argue that the micro-blogging site that has attracted millions of users, including celebrities and politicians, is a powerful tool for communication. But it's amazing how much trouble 140 characters can cause.
Just like hitting "reply all" instead of sticking with the simple "reply," one errant Twitter message -- the maximum post is 140 characters -- available for all with an Internet connection to see, can send its author ducking for cover.
"While Twitter is a new tool that brings with it some new possible ways to make mistakes, people make mistakes in all of the different communications we already have," said Sarah Milstein, author of "The Twitter Book" and social media consultant (she was the 21st user of Twitter). "What makes Twitter different is that the messages are public so that anyone can see them."
Like a blog, Twitter is public but, unlike a blog, the messages, photos and links can easily be re-tweeted or passed along virally to other users, she said. That combination means that regrettable postings can be sent far and wide and then, to make matters worse, easily searched for on Google.
"Be thoughtful about your posting, be interesting, because Twitter is a medium where people choose to get your message," Milstein said. "If you're thoughtful about your individual messages, it also helps to take a step back when you're doing something potentially inflammatory or that you may regret later."
Here are nine other people who might have been helped by that bit of advice.