The right way to hold a Twitter Town Hall, featuring Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

I’ve written repeatedly about the dangers of holding a Twitter Town Hall or Q&A on a hashtag.  There have been plenty of disasters for sure.  However, they can be done right, and this past Tuesday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf showed us how.

The Governor took 30 minutes and retweeted questions, then answered them.  First, he proved that it was really him:

The questions he answered varied; some were serious policy ones:

Others were goofy personal ones:

(Governor Wolf has a Jeep that he drives everywhere; it’s sort of his symbol)

Now, here’s where it got interesting.  Unsurprisingly, the Pennsylvania GOP tried to troll the Governor’s Q&A:

As did the Berks Gas Truth, a group that opposes fracking:

However, the Governor got the last laugh.  He answered questions from both of them:

As for fracking:

In other words, the Governor took on questioners that were opposed to his policies and used their clumsy attempts at attacking him to his own advantage by answering their questions on his own terms.  Frankly, this was foolish by the PA GOP and Berks Gas Truth, as it gave the Governor a chance to take their own message and make it his.  At the same time, the two accounts help to generate additional awareness about the event, likely steering even more people to get the Governor’s message.

In other words, the Governor may want to thank his opponents for increasing the amount of people who paid attention to the event.

Meanwhile, the Governor earned positive media coverage in multiple outlets for the Town Hall.

So, what lessons can we learn from this Town Hall?

  • Keep your questions diverse: The Governor answered questions on a variety of fronts, mostly policy, some personal, but they weren’t repetitive and they covered most of the issues of the day.
  • Answer your attackers, but don’t get into a back and forth:  The Governor, appropriately, answered a few “gotcha” questions.  That was great and it made it look like he wasn’t afraid to take on challengers; however, he didn’t get into a back and forth, which is good, as that would have been a waste of time and looked silly.
  • Summarize: Upon it’s completion, the Governor put together a storify page that had all the questions and answers from the Town Hall.  He also tweeted out a link on the subject, ensuring that even those who missed the event could read the questions and answers:

Anything else to add?  Let us know in the comments!

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