Recap of #MDGovTweetup: A Conversation With Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley

Picture this: you’re a politico who is very active on Twitter. You see a tweet from your governor inviting you to his first-ever tweetup. What do you do? You apply, of course. And let’s say you’re one of the lucky 15 Twitter users from your state who is selected. What do you do? You go. Of course.

On January 23, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (@GovernorOMalley) hosted the first ever Maryland Governor tweetup, hashtag #MDGovTweetup. The tweetup was organized by the Governor’s Communications and New Media officer Zoe Pagonis. The Governor was joined by the most active Twitter user in his cabinet, Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Josh Sharfstein (@DrJoshS). While an avid Twitter user, the Secretary was intimidated by the attendees live-tweeting the event.

Prior to O’Malley’s arrival, Pagonis offered some insights into how the Governor uses Twitter. Pagonis’s office monitors the governor’s account for mentions and RTs, and delivers a daily report. O’Malley responds as warranted, either personally or through Pagonis. As an example, at the tweetup he thanked those in attendance who had wished him a happy birthday the previous week, based on reports provided to him by Pagonis.

O’Malley is an active user of social media. In addition to Twitter, he is active on Facebook¬†and YouTube. Even before social media became mainstream, O’Malley was a BlackBerry user, and was chided by the late former Governor and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who asked “Does your Blueberry fix potholes?” (Sidenote: I’m sure @CoryBooker and @MayorSamAdams would beg to differ.) To give an example of how O’Malley used social media in times of crisis, he described the state’s use of Twitter during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and how his office used Twitter to spread the word and crowdsource information.

During the Q&A session, the Governor freely discussed topics of concern to attendees, as detailed below. The Governor’s responses were interactive, as witnessed by this exchange with a questioner about improving the quality of life in Baltimore.

Overall, I think that the tweetup was a great success in bringing the Governor closer to his citizens. On a personal level, as a Marylander I greatly appreciated the opportunity to turn my online connection to the Governor into a real-life, offline connection. O’Malley assured us that he plans on having these tweetups on a yearly basis. I can only hope that other governors or equivalents in the DC Metro Area follow O’Malley’s lead.
#MDGovTweetup Participants

#MdGovTweetup participants posing with Governor O'Malley

Bonus comment:

#MDGovTweetup occurred the same day as #whatsnextdc. As you can see, I definitely had a case of FOMO!


  1. Michael Wilkins /

    You forgot to mention the Biotech and medical research industry growth that I brought up. O’Malley since announced he was going to allocate $6million to speed the research-to-commercialization process and try to increase that to $11 for FY2013.

  2. Aris Kyriakopoulos /

    Oops, guess I missed that one while going through the tweets. Sorry about that!


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