On August 29, 2011, Twitter took a huge stride into the Washington tech policy world by proclaiming the hire of telecommunications policy veteran Colin Crowell, a former top FCC and Hill telecom aide. Twitter is not waiting for the newest Department of Justice inquiry or FBI raid before preparing its connections in Washington D.C. Instead, the company is arming itself and gearing up for the inexorable D.C. tumult.
It was only November of 2010 when Twitter made its principal big D.C hire. It brought on Adam Sharp, previous C-SPAN executive producer of digital services, as a government liaison. Though Twitter is not currently entangled in any D.C confusion, the current state of social media regulation makes an issue unavoidable. To proactively combat this, the San Francisco based company is capitalizing on the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
“I applaud them. … They’ve probably seen what’s happened with Google and others and said we need to get ahead of the curve and be prepared to address these issues,” said Gary Fazzino, vice president of government affairs at Applied Materials.
It’s not only knew the fact that Twitter is hiring people familiar with D.C.’s politics; Twitter’s top executives have made appearances in Washington, too. Co-founder Biz Stone came to Washington in February 2011 to unveil Converge US, a not-for-profit member of trade association TechNet. Also, Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo chatted with lawmakers in May of 2011. Shortly after Costolo’s visit to D.C., the White House selected him for the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
The next stages, says Fazzino, would be to contribute with lawmakers and agencies on policy issues and to build alliances with tech trade associations.
“You can be brilliant, rich and have the best technology, but you can’t go it alone in D.C. It’s very important to have influential allies,” he said.