Tallahassee, FL - After a room full of reporters questioned Governor Rick Scott about his lack of availability, Scott promised more public interaction.
“I think the public deserves to know more than we give them,” said Scott.
But he didn’t promise open dialogue by traditional means. Scott will host a Town Hall Twitter meeting Thursday night.
Scott’s attempt at more transparent government will allow people from all corners of the state to submit questions, but as social media guru Kevin Cate points out only if they have a Twitter account.
“It’s not going to be a lot of people. Only about eight percent of internet users are actually on Twitter,” said Cate.
Scott will answer questions from the library in the Governor’s Mansion, allowing him to bypass the media and control his message.
“If I read what everybody writes every day I’ll try to pacify everybody so you will only write positive things about me. I understand that that’s not your job,” said Scott.
This is a sound byte from an answer Scott gave to reporters Wednesday. The entire answer is 585 characters. His Twitter responses will have to be much shorter. Twitter limits posts to 140 characters.
Political consultant Kirsten Borman says Twitter can be an effective tool to reach constituents, if used correctly.
“Many politicians tend to use Twitter as just another press release ticker and I want to caution that that’s not the way it should be used. Twitter should be used as a dialog, an engaging conversation,” said Borman.
Scott, who’s only held two news conferences during his first two weeks on the job, says online forums will become more common as he explains his plans for Florida’s economy to the public.
Questions have already been posted on Governor Scott’s Twitter page. The Governor’s Press Office says they won’t be able to answer them all, but Scott will try to answer as many as possible during the 30 minute window.
Anyone with a Twitter account can follow Governor Rick Scott’s online town hall meeting tonight. But only an estimated eight percent of online users subscribe to Twitter. The good news is signing up is free. Once you’ve signed up you can follow tonight’s town hall by going to Scott’s Twitter page. The address is twitter.com/FLGovScott. You can submit questions there or simply add the tag #Flgov or @Flgovscott in your post. Amy Graham, a spokeswoman for Governor Scott, says Twitter is a good forum to allow the public access to the governor.
“The governor’s committed to access and using Twitter to host a Twitter Town Hall is one of the ways he can reach out to Floridians, engage with them one-on-one without having to get in a plane and travel around the state. He can just talk to them online from his computer,” said Graham.
The town hall runs from 7:00 to 7:30 Eastern Time. People have already started posting questions on Scott’s account.