“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”
–Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
Okay, I’m going to cop to the fact that I love this song. It’s not on my iPhone (yet), but it’s been playing in my head for the better part of a week. It may have something to do with a recent report by Lobbyists.info which indicated that while lobbyists prefer in-person meetings with congressional staff, congressional staff would rather communicate via email. The report identified age as a contributing factor in the disconnect. The majority of lobbyists surveyed were 46 and older while the majority of staffers were under the age of 35.
Blatant generalizations about age and technology aside, what’s really going on here? Are lobbyists and congressional staff as disconnected as it appears? Or is this more of a function of the lobbying profession where traditional methods of communicating still get results? Yes, there are times when emailing a staffer is the best way to lobby them. It’s quick, simple and provides a reliable paper trail if necessary. However, face-to-face meetings have their benefits as well. Anyone who has met a potential mate via online dating knows that in order for the relationship to progress, you’ll have to meet face-to-face at some point. The same holds true for lobbying. How do you build relationships with your contacts on Capitol Hill if you can’t put a name to a face?
The lobbying profession is changing for the good. We should utilize new technology to get our jobs done. However, as we look to these new methods, we must not forget what has helped us along the way.