We are fortunate to have a top notch pair of Washington lobbyists, Elizabeth Frazee and Sharon Ringley of TwinLogic Strategies, helping Blog with Integrity on a pro bono basis. They made the initial connection to the FTC for the Town Hall webinar on the 10th, and earlier this month when I was in DC on other business, they set up a day of meetings on Capitol Hill.
Our goal was to let policymakers know that, at the grassroots level, bloggers are committed to transparency, disclosure and self-regulation.
We also wanted to show our support for the common sense approach of applying existing law, combined with self regulation, to new technologies, rather than rushing to new, possibly unnecessary legislation. Only if the existing laws cannot adequately address the public’s interest, should we look to new laws.
This is exactly what the FTC has done with the endorsement guidelines. It intends to apply existing law about a certain type of content — a commercial endorsement — to a new form, blogs and social media. We need to let it play out.
On the Hill, we met with staffers for key congressional committees, including commerce and small business. At the FTC, we met with members of Chairman Leibowitz’s staff, and were honored when the Chairman made time to spend a few minutes with us as well. Everyone seemed genuinely interested in the campaign and our ongoing educational program.
Of course, the cynic in me knows it didn’t hurt that we weren’t actively lobbying for something specific. Most of the time, congressional and agency staffers juggle meetings with interested parties looking for a specific outcome.
We just wanted to make the connection.