A potpourri of observations and comments about the analyst ecosystem and social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis is the Explanation Mark! blog post.

 Analyst leaves Forrester! – The fact that an analyst leaves a prominent firm (in this case Forrester security analyst Natalie Lambert to vendor Citrix) is not news. People change jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. Even in a recession. What is interesting is how open the news has been with the analyst and Forrester tweeting and blogging (e.g., see this post) about it. In the past, analyst firms were loathe to admit that an analyst had walked out the door, only telling clients and others on an individual basis to keep the word from spreading. Luckily that attitude is no longer possible because social media means that the word will get out sooner than later. So kudos to Forrester for being open about the change.

70 new entries in the Analyst Twitter Directory in the last week! – We did two updates to the Analyst Twitter Directory with the result being that the number of analysts in the directory went over 900. You might want to check out the AR Twitter Directory as it has 48 new entries.

Which analysts actually tweet? Pshaw! It doesn’t matter! – After SageCircle tweeted about the Analyst Twitter Directory getting near 900, there was this reply by HCL AR wizard and former Gartnerian @robert_desouza “the correct stat would be how many actually tweet of the 899.” Then HP AR guru @gerryvz tweeted “Yes it would be an interesting project to stack-rank Twanalysts by frequency, insight qual & market influence.” To both twits we say “Pshaw!” That is because ranking all the analysts in the directory by volume or insight is not relevant. What is relevant for AR teams is whether your analysts are using social media. So it does not matter if social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang is number one ranked of all 900+ analysts when it comes to social media usage if your market is storage hardware, because Jeremiah is not relevant to that market.

SageCircle has done a number of Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis engagements recently. No two analyst lists are alike in the social media usage patterns. Each list has at least one analyst who might not rank within hundreds of the top of the directory, but who still does enough on social media for that particular AR team to monitor.

Twitter Lists are not powerful enough for the Analyst Twitter Directory! – Not yet, anyway.  This was a request that came in last week and it makes sense. Unfortunately Twitter Lists is pretty bare bones at this time and does not have features to make it a true directory (e.g., firm and analyst name, sortable). There will be an analysis soon of Twitter Lists and their usefulness for AR professionals.

Social media usage upgrades an analyst to Tier 1 status from Tier 2! – If visibility is a relevant criteria for an AR team’s analyst list ranking framework, then an analyst’s use of social media could raise her overall visibility and thus her ranking on the list.   This might mean moving her above the Tier 1 line – while bumping another analyst into Tier 2.

Bottom Line: Social media in the analyst ecosystem is still evolving. Analysts, AR teams, and research clients need to keep their finger on the pulse of change to ensure that they are not put into a competitive disadvantage.

Question: What are your favorite examples of effective use of social media by analysts or AR?




  1. Isn’t the real question if an analysts tweets influence the market? I have anecdotal that those silly 140 character messages actually do. A few tips I’ve learned.

    I use my tweets to indicate to the market who I’m talking to, (briefings or clients) as a signal I’ve information I’m ready to share.

    Secondly, I use it to signal to press I’d like to talk to them about a story they may be covering (news breaks fast and frequently in my market).

    A third way is I use it to get answers for end users, or to find out questions about the market.

    A few really savvy vendors watch my tweets and know how to engage, helping them find opportunities.

  2. I wish we could fast forward this conversation 24 months.

    We could change out all the references from “Twitter” to “email”.

    Are analysts on email? how many? Is it influential? How many use it? Should we have an AR strategy around email?

    As soon as we stop caring less about the tools and more on the interactions between people we’re better off.

    I hope we can do a webinar on this topic someday, I’ve a lot to share with AR folks on this movement.

    Stop fondling the hammer and focus on building the house.

  3. @jeremiah says it all in a nutshell:

    “As soon as we stop caring less about the tools and more on the interactions between people we’re better off.”

    Influencer/analyst relations has always been about the relationships and the substance, and always will be.

  4. Sure, the relationships and interactions are the most important. But don’t confuse the one-to-everyone publishing model of Twitter with the one-to-one (or maybe a few) model of e-mail. I can write a vicious e-mail that nobody ever hears about, but if I write a vicious tweet about a vendor you can be sure it will be heard. The tools DO matter.

  5. I agree – the tools matter because of their visibility. Although it’s not obvious from the tweet itself who is listening, and whether they’re moved by it, responses can provide some indication that people ARE listening, and AR doesn’t need to rely on the analyst firm’s reporting exclusively to see their impact. Just follow the tweetstream.

    Another useful indicator of impact can be to look at the blog of an analyst you’re interested in. You may be able to see how much traffic they get – some blogs display statistics about that. And comment logs are fascinating – on some blogs they can run into dozens of comments, from fascinating people (I’ve experienced this myself, and it’s quite instructive at times.)

  6. A timely post Carter. I have just completed some twitter analysis following a summit I was involved with organising and the results were staggering.

    I will post about it soon but my only comment on this is, as an AR you had better find some way of tracking Twitter at an event or else you are missing a big trick! The issue is not what to track but how to measure impact. I Tweet you a link to the blog post once I have written up!

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