February 3, 2011

O’Malley, Brown using technology to interact with Marylanders during State of the State address

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By Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com

Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will be using the Internet to connect with Marylanders about today’s State of the State Address.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's 2010 State of the State address

O’Malley’s fifth State of the State address at noon Thursday, will be streamed live at O’Malley’s website, besides being broadcast on television. Additionally, O’Malley and Brown’s staffs will be answering questions and interacting through Twitter. And then at 4 p.m. Friday, Brown will be posting video responses to some popular questions on the state’s YouTube channel.

Maryland Public Television and other television stations have broadcast the speech live for years. Last year, the governor’s staff took to Twitter during the State of the State, said Takirra Winfield, O’Malley’s deputy press secretary. But the interaction level has never been this high.

“He really wants to engage the people this year,” Winfield said. “It’s the first State of the State of his second term, and he wants to make sure everyone can get involved.”

The interaction opportunities – with live streaming, Twitter, and YouTube responses to questions – are similar to those presented by President Obama during last week’s State of the Union address. Winfield said O’Malley attended the president’s address last week and got ideas of what would be effective for interaction during his State of the State address. ,

Since last summer, O’Malley’s office has been broadcasting Board of Public Works meetings on the Internet. In 2011, the webcasting has been expanded to include other events. The press conference where O’Malley named Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as the new secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well O’Malley and Brown’s inauguration ceremony were both broadcast online. Two weeks ago, when O’Malley unveiled his 2012 budget proposal at a news conference, more than 1,700 people tuned in to watch it online.

O’Malley’s office is preparing for a web event that brings hundreds of Marylanders into the annual State of the State address. The governor’s office sent an e-mail to the “One Maryland” newsletter list – made of people who signed up at O’Malley’s website – advertising the web interactivity on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, Winfield said there have already been several positive reactions, including people starting Twitter accounts just to interact with O’Malley’s staff.

An e-mail blast reminding interested parties – like state employees and people who have signed up on O’Malley’s e-mail lists – to watch the speech online will also be sent out late Thursday morning, Winfield said.

For people who miss the live broadcast of the address, it will be available on the governor’s website. It will be shown in a loop repeatedly for a while – likely until next week’s Board of Public Works meeting – and will then be available for on-demand viewing.

“The more we can connect with Marylanders, the better,” Winfield said.

On Twitter, users can include #MDSOTS in their tweets talking about the State of the State address. Questions to be answered on YouTube can be sent to Brown on Twitter or by e-mail.

Following the State of the State, Republican Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, the new House minority whip, will be giving the Republican response to the address. It will be broadcast on MPT, but not on any government website, said House Republican Caucus Special Assistant Carrie Simons-Sparrow. They will also not be participating on any official Twitter feed.

However, Simons-Sparrow said that following the address, the caucus is likely to post the video response on its website.