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Are Gartner Blogs Annoying? Are all Blogs Annoying? Is Twitter Annoying?

by Anthony J. Bradley  |  January 26, 2009  |  6 Comments

I was alerted to this twitterer’s sentiment that that Gartner blogs are annoying, “Gartner blogs annoy! What’s the point of blogging openly, then ref’ing subscription. only reports. Either extract or don’t bother.”

This is a valid statement. Isn’t it? Certainly we reference our “subscription required” research in many, if not most, of our posts. Research is what we do. Research is what we get paid for. You can only get so much for free. I hope that most of us bloggers provide value to our readers (and then reference our research for more detail) but not too much value. Otherwise, there would be no Gartner analysts. Striking that balance is always a challenge. You, as our readers can help us strike that balance. Blogging can and should be a two way discourse.

Also, many of our readers are clients and appreciate the tying of our published research to current happenings. So we are also trying to balance value to the public and value to our clients.

You might also argue that in general, blogging as a medium can only add so much value. I could certainly tell this twitterer that his sound bite tweets are annoyingly shallow (just an example). Is that his fault or the 140 character limit to twitter microblogging?

We will try our best to add value to the blogoshere but we won’t be giving away the store. We are trying to start a conversation with our posts not conclude it. With social software the vast majority of the value comes from the community not an individual. So that means that the value our blogs largely depends on your participation. We will seed it but you must run with it. Such is the nature of Web 2.0. I talk a lot about delegating to the community what the community does best. This is the way you leverage the community to do great things.

So to answer the twitterer’s question directly as to “what is the point,” I offer,

  • Try to start a conversation
  • Provide some value and link to more detail
  • Drive awareness of what we have published
  • Drive awareness of hot topics

Is this not cutting it? Are you annoyed? Any comments?

Category: social-applications  

Tags: best-practices  blogging  

Anthony J. Bradley
GVP
10 years at Gartner
26 years in IT

Anthony J. Bradley is a group vice president in Gartner Research responsible for the research content that Gartner publishes through its three internet businesses (softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com). These responsibilities include creating and leading the research organization and infrastructure needed for the strategy formulation, planning, research, creation, editing, production and distribution of the content. He has four global teams of highly talented people who are advancing towards the world's greatest destination for content on how small businesses succeed through information technology.


Thoughts on Are Gartner Blogs Annoying? Are all Blogs Annoying? Is Twitter Annoying?


  1. Bryan Person says:

    Anthony:

    I think the challenge is really striking the balance, so that your blog doesn’t appear to be little more than a shill for your paid research.

    The blog is certainly one channel to drive people to your research, because, as you note, that is what keeps you in business. But maybe there are other ways to think about your blog, too, such as 1) a tool for bringing Gartner more into social media conversations 2) using it as a way to connect to more voices that can inform you for your research, etc.

    Jeremiah Owyang is the master at this, in my opinion. He shares *plenty* for free, including behind-the-scenes peeks into his research, his views on current trends, etc.

    And because he’s so out there and open and building relationships, he can connect to folks that are willing to pay for his insight.

    (In the way of disclosure, we are a Forrester client.)

    Bryan | @BryanPerson
    LiveWorld

  2. Anthony Bradley says:

    “But maybe there are other ways to think about your blog, too, such as 1) a tool for bringing Gartner more into social media conversations 2) using it as a way to connect to more voices that can inform you for your research, etc.”

    I could not agree with you more. This is the main goal. I definitely would not want the blogs to end up as just another channel for promoting our paid research. I read a lot of our blogs and I don’t think it is.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Matt Povey says:

    As the person who spat that tweet out into the world, I think it’s only fair that I elaborate. I can’t actually remember which blog post prompted it (and that is instructive in itself) but it will have been linked from one of the Gartner Twitterers who are themselves very interesting (hence followed).

    A blog is not a press-release, it should be something which is capable of starting a conversation. It should not be a bland ‘statement of fact’ but build its argument either analytically or by providing evidence. In that situation, calling out to subscription only reports is fine – you’re saying, “here is the mother lode if you want it but there’s enough here for a conversation”.

    By contrast, when I come to a blog (having been attracted in by a well constructed 140 character example of ‘kanso’ in action) which states a few bald ‘facts’ surrounded with what appears to be a veneer of opinion. And when that blog then links out to a number of paid reports which actually make the argument that the blog
    purported to, the prospective customer is liable to get irritated.

    So there is the simple answer. Write blogs, not press releases and people are likely to be interested. They might even buy the report.

  4. Asfaq says:

    very well put, Anthony. Blogs today are meant to ignite a conversation. When a post is written around popular opinion, its not even interesting anymore.

  5. Jame Ervin says:

    Well I guess from any analyst I am looking for opinions. And from blogs the same holds true, but I expect them to be a bit more personable. What I’d like to see, from an analyst blog is a mix of info on upcoming research, or current research. A new angle on the report. Something informative, that is not included in the report. Perhaps a definition of new terms or trends (this can link back to your report for more details.) I am well aware, that we are blogging for revenue, but I want to try the milk before I buy the cow. I don’t want each post to be an executive summary of your report. What would be really great is a mini story on how someone used some date from your report to improve their business. And then, I might buy it. Or put some case studies to life, or your opinions to life. With a video on your research methodology. And combine your blog with your report, cover a few smaller points exclusively in the blog. Stuff that’s not suitable for a huge report, and we can use it to evaluate your “thought leadership,” and then decide to buy your reports. Because we understand how you think. My 2 cents.

  6. Anthony Bradley says:

    This might be boring but I don’t really disagree with anything said above. I really don’t want my, or any of these analyst blogs, to be “salesy” at all. You are welcome to call me out on any of mine that come across that way. I am happy to see that people are looking for a mix of opinions and insight into research plans and publishing because I do want to also use the blog to drive awareness of the research I’m doing and the research I’ve done.

    Matt, I did send your tweet message to the Gartner Blogger Network (GBN) e-mail DL as a reminder that pointing to research is fine but not a substitute for delivering value in the post.

    I appreciate all your feedback. It really is about getting to the point where blogging generates a valuable conversation.



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