H/T Dennis (hi Dennis!) who pointed me to this exceedingly useful set of icons for FTC-mandated blog disclosures, e.g.:
The new rules are a bit annoying, sure, but it's actually high time. In the print tech-journo world, it was de rigeur to at least proclaim that the freebies you collected weren't that much, really, and certainly wouldn't influence your judgment. Heavens no!
In BlogLand -- by no means limited to the tech realm -- you rarely see even that much, and the various vendors snow "citizen journalists" under with in-kind payola. And while I am living proof that journalism school does not confer superhuman ethical qualities, many of these folks don't even have that thin reed -- nobody ever told them it was bad to write about stuff whose producers showered you with kilobucks in gifts, travel, and who knows what all else. (This kind of role-blurring and its pervasiveness in our new corporate government-by-media is thoroughly explored in Janine Wedel's Shadow Elite, BTW.)
So I'm actually happy with the intent behind the FTC rules, although enforcement is going to be one of those devil-in-the-details things.
In the spirit of streamlining disclosure for my fellow bloggers, here are a few more potentially-useful icons:
Blogger received box of valuable shards and fragments via USPS
Career Trajectory Indicator: Traded full-time job for full-time blogging. (Or, worse, full-time print reporting. Sorry about that.)
Blogger went on vendor junket featuring game of one-on-one with LeBron James
Blogger accepted free heated swimming pool from cut-rate contractor
Blogger on deadline avoided editor by leaping out 2nd-story window;
Blogger who missed 1,439th deadline is thrown bodily out editor's 2nd-story window*
In the publishing world, under no circumstances should you bend over. Ever. Not even to take a drink.
After a couple weeks of blogging, you will have millions of readers and be rich besides.
*Hi Alexa and Tami! Thanks for not ever doing this!