Many of us Westerners think of the concept of yin and yang (or more accurately yin yang) as good verus bad. Right and wrong. Black and white. But, I’ve read that yin and yang are more accurately noted as complementary opposites within a greater whole.
Wikipedia says “everything has both yin and yang aspects, although yin or yang elements may manifest more strongly in different objects or at different times. Yin yang constantly interacts, never existing in absolute stasis.”
So what does all this have to do with Forrester’s recent accouncement that their analysts could no longer have personal blogs, but rather have to blog on the company site?
Many of us reacted immediately to the news as if it was wrong of Forrester. How dare they try to control social media?! The whole concept of user generated content is that it is free from “the man” telling us what we can do. We bloggers shall overcome!
Well, that sort of reaction is like thinking that yin and yang are separate entities instead of realizing that everything has elements of both.
While I agree with Lee Provoost that the way Forrester is executing this plan and their lack of clear communication around is poor, I can also see good in it. Beth Harte believes Forrester is correct because of the old “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” Their employees thoughts are the product the company sells.
I think it is very cold of them to simply refer to their employees thoughts as “our IP,” as they did in a tweet, but I believe there are advantages for the employees to blog on the company site.
I blog on my company’s site, Direct2Dell, when talking about projects that I do for them. I also blog here on random thoughts that cross my mind and on This Mommy Gig about topics related to parenting. Similarly, Forrester is still allowing their analysts to blog off the company site on topics not related to their coverage areas.
So, as the initial firestorm over the Forrester decision dies out, I think everyone will come to see it is not black and white, but rather a more full-color yin yang concept.