The Web provides an opportunity for Gartner to expand and deepen our interactions with clients, prospects, technology providers, business leaders and the media. These guidelines for Web Participation build upon longstanding policies regarding associates’ personal conduct and upon the sound judgment that we expect our associates to use in their professional interactions.
“Web Participation” is currently defined as all forms of public Web-based communication and expression, such as blogs, microblogs, linkblogs, social network sites, wikis, bookmark sites, content sharing sites (e.g., photo, video, image or document), forums, mailing lists, discussion groups and chat rooms.
Scope and Applicability of these Guidelines
These Guidelines apply to all Gartner associates, wherever located, including analysts who participate in the Gartner Blogger Network. These Guidelines are expected to guide your behavior in all forms of Web Participation, with the exception of official corporate communications, content published through standard research processes for clients, and internal interactions.
When applying these Guidelines to your Web Participation, you should be conscious of the “persona” in which you are speaking, especially when commenting on topics related to the information technology industry: are you in the “professional persona” of a Gartner associate, or the “personal persona” of any member of the public who uses IT products and services?
You are acting in your professional persona as a Gartner associate when:
- You identify yourself in the social environment as a Gartner associate, regardless of your role at Gartner; or
- You occupy a role at Gartner responsible for creating our intellectual capital, such as an analyst, consultant, executive 12.10.12 partner or leadership partner, and are commenting on a topic related to information technology; or
- You are an associate participating in any Gartner-sponsored web property, including the Gartner Blogger Network.
These Guidelines apply to you in either “persona;” however, when you adopt your “professional persona” on the web, you have a responsibility to approach subjects related to IT in a thoughtful and professional manner, as a representative of Gartner. Associates who create our intellectual capital, including analysts, consultants, executive partners and leadership partners, have a heightened responsibility to represent the Company’s approved research positions on IT subjects.
- You may not initiate or maintain a personal blog, social network discussion group, or other internet site that discusses or relates to Gartner, our business, or to the information technology industry.
- All Gartner policies apply, and should be followed, in your conduct and activities on the Web.
- Think before you post; use sound judgment and think about reactions to your post before you post it.
- Respect your audience; avoid negative personal comments or inflammatory subjects.
- Have productive conversations; if you are an analyst posting on the Gartner Blogger Network, or simply participating in another IT forum; remember that the primary benefit of Web Participation is for others to learn about Gartner and for Gartner to learn from others.
- Don’t “give away the farm”; if you are a Gartner analyst, Consultant, Leadership Partner or Executive Partner, don’t post the kind of information and advice for which clients pay Gartner.
- Protect and enhance the value of the Gartner brand: Present Gartner in a positive light and avoid making derogatory comments about Gartner, our products, services, management, employees, or systems. Do not create a Gartner-branded social media profile in the public domain without approval from Corporate Marketing.
- Respect confidentiality: Protect Gartner’s and our clients’ confidential information.
- Be personable and have fun: Web participation is about enjoying personal interactions, not delivering corporate communications.
- Be conscious of persona: Know that when you are representing Gartner or may be perceived as such, you are expected to post as a professional, in compliance with these Guidelines.
- Don’t engage in debates defending published Gartner research; Analysts may clarify research positions but should not engage in public debates defending published Gartner research.
- Comply with all Applicable Laws: When engaging in Web Participation, you are expected to respect and adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.
- Publicity: Refer all requests for interviews or comments from the media to public relations.
1. Personal Blogs
While Gartner-sponsored Web properties, such as the Gartner Blogger Network, are the officially sanctioned means by which eligible associates may initiate or maintain a Web presence on IT subjects, the Company recognizes that a personal Web presence (such as a personal blog, Facebook page, or Facebook group discussion board) may also be appropriate and beneficial. Regardless of your role at Gartner, you may not initiate or maintain a personal blog, social network discussion group, or other internet site that discusses or relates to Gartner, our business, or to the information technology industry. You are free, however, to publish your own blogs on topics of personal interest to you that do not concern Gartner or the IT industry.
2. All Gartner policies apply.
The policies that apply to associate conduct in general apply to Web Participation as well, whether or not your postings are about Gartner, our business or information technology. Know and follow all Gartner policies, including our Code of Conduct.
3. Think before you post.
Use sound judgment and think about reactions to your post before you post it. Remember that whatever you post may live for many years on the Web, even if you delete your copy of it. Avoid posting in the heat of the moment, especially in a discussion that is escalating into a flame war. Ask yourself, “Is this issue better handled by another part of Gartner, such as Research management, the Ombudsman or PR?”
4. Respect your audience.
Avoid slurs, personal attacks or insults, obscenity, etc., and topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as topics in the areas of politics and religion. Show proper consideration for others’ privacy, and avoid picking fights. Be the first to correct your own mistakes, and be constructive and respectful if correcting others.
5. Have productive conversations.
When acting in your professional persona as a Gartner associate, remember that the primary benefit of Web Participation is for others to learn about Gartner and for Gartner to learn from others. While it is OK to offer criticism, this criticism should be constructive and never mean-spirited, and should not involve accusations of wrongdoing or improper conduct. Find out who else is blogging on the topic, and link to them. If Gartner has relevant research on the topic, link to it (even if it is just the abstract). Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information (get your facts straight) and perspective (be constructive). Test your ideas and move research forward while avoiding direct disagreement with published research. Remember, if a posting generates a request from a technology provider for a briefing, a journalist for an interview, or a client or prospect for an inquiry, route it through normal Gartner channels.
6. Don’t “give away the farm.”
Don’t post the kind of information and advice for which clients pay Gartner. This includes the posting of documents, such as research documents and presentations, as well as specific information, such as analysis, recommendations and predictions. As Gartner associates, we want clients to pay us for information. At the same time, associates who create Gartner’s research content (e.g., analysts, consultants, Executive Partners, Leadership Partners) may want to participate in Web conversations about IT — which means exchanging information and opinion about IT. To ensure you aren’t divulging too much information, be thoughtful about what information you post and how you respond to feedback. Ask yourself: “Is this the kind of information that our clients normally pay us for?” If the answer is “Yes” or even “Perhaps,” then confer with other Gartner colleagues before posting. Especially with IT subjects, focus on opening a dialog around topics to enhance awareness of the topic, to gain constructive feedback from the broader IT community, and to build awareness of Gartner activities and research.
7. Protect and enhance the value of Gartner’s brand.
Present Gartner in a positive light and avoid making derogatory comments about Gartner, our products, services, management, employees or systems. Although this is already covered by the Gartner Code of Conduct, it is worth highlighting explicitly in the context of Web participation. If you are an analyst posting on a topic related to IT, to minimize the risk that your individual post is perceived as a Gartner vetted research position, you should make it clear that you are posting as an individual analyst. Use a disclaimer such as: “This post is my individual opinion and does not necessarily represent a Gartner vetted research position.”
When posting about IT-related issues it is inevitable — indeed healthy — for contrary points of view to be debated and discussed. It is inevitable that an
12.10.12 individual associate’s post about an IT subject may occasionally be viewed as representing or contradicting Gartner’s official position on a subject, as established by Gartner Research. However, it is never appropriate to intentionally disparage or contradict published Gartner research. If such a post actually generates controversy or confusion, the associate should post as quickly as possible a clarification that resolves the issue. Be careful when blogging about vendors. Do not create a new and previously unstated position(s) on a vendor, vendor action or product. This must be created through the Gartner official research process first.
Do not create a Gartner-branded social media profile in the public domain without approval from Corporate Marketing. Creation of these pages detracts from our corporate profiles and dilutes the value of the Gartner brand. There would be a high risk to the Company to have accounts branded as “Gartner” with no documented or assigned control, governance, standards or ongoing management. We want our clients and prospects to be able to easily identify and follow our corporate social profiles.
8. Protect confidential information.
Protect Gartner’s and our clients’ confidential information. Information that we would not publicly disclose in our research due to confidentiality concerns should not be disclosed or discussed on the Web. Also, because we are a public company, don’t disclose or discuss Gartner’s revenues, future business plans or share price. If in doubt, gain permission prior to posting on matters that might be private or internal to Gartner.
9. Be personable and have fun.
Web participation is about enjoying personal interactions, not delivering corporate communications. Always identify yourself. Write in the first person. If your Web participation feels like work, you’re probably doing too much of it and it’s likely to interfere with your work at Gartner. A big part of the Web experience is that it is more playful than most other media. Your Web participation should reflect this characteristic. The most successful blogs are those with an informal and humorous style. It’s OK — some might say mandatory — to poke fun in Web postings, but keep in mind that such humor should always be appropriate and should stimulate discussion, not stifle it.
10. Be conscious of persona.
Persona is the role you are playing when participating on the web. You may adopt the persona of a Gartner associate or a personal persona unconnected to your professional work life. It is important for associates to recognize the difference, and to be careful when crossing from one persona to the other in any particular social environment. Whenever and wherever you act in your 12.10.12 professional persona as a Gartner associate, be mindful that you will be perceived as representing the Company, and must act thoughtfully and professionally at all times.
11. Don’t engage in debates defending published Gartner Research.
Associates are encouraged to engage in the social Web around research issues and exchange differing points of view. If published Gartner research is disputed on the social Web, associates should inform the Ombudsman’s office and refrain from engaging in public debates. Use your best judgment in discussing and clarifying published research. While Gartner strives for transparency in our research methodologies, there are aspects of our methodologies that are proprietary and are not intended for public dissemination. Therefore, analysts should not publicly explain or clarify Gartner research methodology. This is the role of the Ombudsman’s office.
12. Comply with Applicable Laws.
When engaging in Web Participation, you are expected to respect and adhere to all applicable laws and regulations including those concerning Financial Reporting, Insider Trading, Antitrust, Copyright, Anti-Bribery and Data Protection.
Remember, if a posting generates a request from a technology provider for a briefing, a journalist for an interview, or a client or prospect for an inquiry, route it through normal Gartner channels. Forward requests for media interviews to the public relations team.
Gartner reserves the right to monitor Web Participation by our associates, including social networking sites, to ensure compliance with these guidelines. Violations of these Guidelines may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.