I have been blogging since May 2001 and have been writing about companies and industries for much longer. The following disclosure statement predates the Federal Trade Commission’s requirement that bloggers disclose their associations when writing about companies or organizations they have some association with.
I am a social media consultant, new media strategist, author, blogger, independent journalist, tech entrepreneur, speaker and trainer — and move frequently from one role to another in the course of a project or in the span of a few hours. I try to be fair and open-minded in my writings, and I believe that transparency — letting users make their own decision about perceived conflicts — serves us well as the abiding principle of the blogosphere.
Professional associations and advisory roles
First, here is a list of the companies and associations that I help advise or have been involved with in a professional capacity:
• Founding member, Intel Advisors (formerly Intel Insiders) social media advisory group
• Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research
• Faculty alumnus, Macworld Expo
• Instructor, Poynter Institute’s News University
• Instructor, Knight Digital Media Center
• Advisory Board member of NetTuesday
• Advisory Board member of The Center for Citizen Media
• Advisory Board member of NowPublic
• Advisory Board member of The Conversations Network and SpokenWord.org
• Advisory Board member of Tech Policy Summit
• Advisory Board member of EDUIT
• Advisory Board member of Rutgers Journalism Resources Institute
• Advisory Board member of LibraryCity
• Board member, Media Bloggers Association
• Fellow, Center for Social Media
• Participant in three Aspen Institute roundtables
• Participant, Nokia bloggers program
• Founding partner, Public Media Collaborative
• Co-founder, Social Media Breakfast East Bay
• Guest expert, PR University
• Participant, IABC Research Foundation Social Media Think Tank
• Contributor, The Huffington Post
insidesocialmedia.com & Socialbrite
As principal and organizer of the insidesocialmedia.com group of social media consultants, I have asked my colleagues to disclose any relationships with the companies they write about. In general, we write about industry trends and not about our own work with clients. Here is a list of our clients.
Similarly, as principal of Socialbrite, we also disclose relationships with our nonprofit clients in our blog posts. You can see a list of our clients at Socialbrite.
As a blogger and former technology columnist for Engadget, I occasionally receive products to test out and write about from companies such as Kodak, Nokia, Samsung and Archos. When I do so, I make efforts to disclose those relationships in my blog entries. As a general rule, these consumer electronics gadgets are on loan for review with no strings attached, and I receive no payment for such write-ups.
With the exception of one share of Apple stock that mybrandz.com sent me unsolicited, I currently own no stocks apart from mutual funds — if you asked me which companies these funds invest in, I couldn’t tell you. If I have any financial relationship with a business I write about, I’ll do my best to disclose it. I currently do not accept advertising on my blogs insidesocialmedia.com, Socialbrite.org and JDLasica.com.
I accept fees to speak at conferences and industry events. Compensation may also cover my travel and lodging expenses.
Intel Advisors program
I am a member of the Intel Advisors program (formerly the Intel Insiders), which is a group of about a dozen people who are experts in various areas of social media. The Intel Advisors follow the Word of Mouth Marketing Association code of ethics and act as a social media advisory board to provide Intel with ongoing feedback — both public and private — on the company’s products and social media efforts. The program’s organizers stress that participants are free to write anything they want about Intel products and events. There has been no monetary compensation provided for my participation in this program other than reimbursement for travel expenses and occasional free products. As a gesture of gratitude for participants’ time and involvement, Intel has provided members of the program with a free MacBook Air laptop and (months later) a Core i7 Dell PC.
Finally, a word of thanks to tech journalist Kara Swisher for her excellent, detailed Ethics Statement, which should serve as a model for other bloggers, journalists and reviewers.