With all due respect to the New York Times headlines about President Obama making history with a live internet chat, we quietly made history of our own with Gov. Deval Patrick last night at NECN – taking live questions for a sitting Governor via Twitter during his town hall meeting at the JFK Presidential Library last night in Boston.
Well, it was a little history. There were a number of good questions submitted to the hashtag #townmeeting during the hour-long event, but in the end, only one was used. The problem? With a live audience eagerly waiting to ask questions and dozens of quality email questions to choose from, there was a wealth of great possibilities. From the behind the scenes standpoint, we had a number of questions ready to go, but then the conversation would shift to a new topic, and rather than revisit the old ones, the producers and moderator R.D. Sahl went in the new direction.
The tweeted question, from Twitter user @jdvarlaro, is about 9 minutes into this clip.
The disappointment at only getting one question in there aside, if I do say so myself, I felt like we were on something here way more innovative, engaging and interactive than George Stephanopoulos’ “twinterview” of John McCain (which was a gimmick, let’s just say it) or even the President’s meeting. I saw a lot of potential for an engaging Q and A combining Twitter as an avenue for concise thoughtful questions and video for thoughtful, engaging answers. Governor Patrick seemed at ease with the technology (although I don’t think he has caught up with the rest of his office as far as using Twitter goes), and I for one would love to do this again – and let Twitter drive more of the discussion. Or Seesmic.
We will do this again – with whom remains to be seen. And next time, I hope not to have another bit of history repeat itself. I ran the livestream while flat on my back with back trouble in my bedroom, so I couldn’t be as big an advocate for the Twitter questions both before and during the event as I would have been in the control room. Of course, the fact that I could lie in bed in my house, taking a feed from Boston running through a control room in Newton and get it on the web using Mogulus is pretty amazing in its own right.