Why our analysts blog at forrester.com
by Josh Bernoff
Forrester is and has always been a leader with analyst blogging. Charlene Li started this blog you’re reading in 2004. We love blogging. And many of our colleagues that came from Jupiter, the company we acquired in 2008 are also avid bloggers.
The Forrester management team needed to make a decision about analysts and blogging -- on our site or off. I didn't make that decision, but I did advise the management, and I agree with the decision we made. What people need to understand is that Forrester is an intellectual property company, and the opinions of our analysts are our product. Blogging is an extension of the other work we do -- doing research, writing reports, working with clients, and giving speeches, for example. As Sting said, "Poets, priests and politicians/Have words to thank for their positions." Analysts, too.
Think about other companies that employ writers and creators of opinion and analysis, like newspapers and magazines. Where do you find David Pogue's posts about gadgets? On the New York Times site, since that's who employs him to do those reviews. You won't find Katie Couric's posts outside of CBS , either. Why not? Because of the confusion that would arise. You know when David and Katie talk, their opinions are part of the content they create for their employers, who are in the content business.
Companies in the information and analysis business are not the same as other companies from this perspective. There are many good blogs by executives and other workers in all sorts of companies, and we certainly believe such companies should allow their employees to blog, subject to the usual rules about not disclosing confidential information, etc.
But for Forrester, it serves our clients better to be able to get to all our blogs from one place, and to know the opinions of analysts that they see are part of the other opinions they read in our reports, in press quotes, and in everywhere else we talk.
Forrester does not yet have individual analyst blogs on our site, but that's coming quite soon. This is why it's so ironic to read comments that "We don't let analysts have individual blogs" or "Forrester should read Groundswell." I cowrote Groundswell, and I believe our policy is the right one. Groundswell says that your employees will be blogging -- it doesn't say that content companies should have their content creators blog anywhere they want. If you're creating content for a content company, that company ought to host your blog.
We’re not stopping analysts from blogging about stuff unrelated to our analytical work. And they can Twitter all they want. And they can blog all they want, about anything relevant to their jobs, right here on blogs.forrester.com. I count 23 blogs there. Some of them are pretty good.
Our analysts will still be blogging here at forrester.com. We're improving the platform to make it easier for analysts to have their own space, and we expect more analysts to be blogging here more often than ever before. You're welcome to take issue with our opinions. But rest assured, you will be able to read those opinions, and we can be just as analytical, provocative, and interesting here at forrester.com as anywhere else on the Web.
2/8/10: For more detail, see guest post from Cliff Condon, in charge of social media policy at Forrester.