[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/29/pawlenty.facebook.townhall.jpg caption="Gov. Pawlenty will appear on this page Wednesday for his Facebook Town Hall."]Washington (CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will host his first "Facebook Town Hall" meeting Wednesday, focusing on the 2010 elections. The governor will log on to his Facebook account, deliver opening remarks and then field reaction and questions about how Republicans can organize around the 2010 elections.
"Gov. Pawlenty wants to use the latest technology and social networking tools to connect with more Americans and talk about the issues facing our country," Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said in an e-mail. "This will be like a regular town hall, except we'll be able to take questions from around the country thanks to new online tools."
The Facebook Town Hall is part of a concerted effort Pawlenty, who is considering a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is making to reach out to the online community. During the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last month, Pawlenty met with bloggers during a special happy hour and has been active on numerous social networks including Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. On Facebook, Pawlenty has over 31,000 fans following him.
Hosting a Facebook Town Hall is becoming increasingly more common. A similar event was hosted by Rep. Joe Wilson in January moments after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. The Republican congressman from South Carolina, know nationwide for his "you lie" outburst directed at Obama last year during the president's prime health care address to Congress, delivered a live video address on Facebook and then responded to questions submitted during his speech on the social network. Obama and a number of high-ranking officials in the administration have also used Facebook on numerous occasions to engage directly with users.
"Social media has encouraged unprecedented openness in politics and government and we're eager to see this phenomenon continue," Andrew Noyes, a spokesperson for Facebook's Washington D.C. office, told CNN. "Web sites like Facebook have helped reconnect citizens to their leaders and vice versa. The 2008 U.S. election was a watershed moment for civic engagement and social media and 2010 is shaping up similarly."