Social media study: Apple dominates tech chatter, doesn’t do enough to control it

In a study of social media, Ed Kitchingman, the senior analyst at We Are Social, found “that the iPhone 5 dominated — by far — the launch day conversations on Twitter and other social media platforms, but that its competitors did a much better job of steering the discussions,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“Samsung, for example, used social media aggressively to invite fans to be part of its launch, offering sneak previews, teasing content and encouraging them to ‘meet the next Galaxy’ at a Broadway-style event in New York City,” P.E.D. reports. “By contrast Apple, according to Kitchingman, ‘was not proactive enough pushing positive messages about the iPhone 5 and any innovation it offered, resulting in a low level of conversation around its features.'”

P.E.D. reports, “‘[Apple]’s lack of proactivity and staid marketing tactics,’ he concludes, ‘leave the social space open for other brands to take advantage.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is basically what we’ve been saying forever: Apple’s PR is seemingly hamstrung, reactive, when it does finally react, it’s usually too late, and Apple’s long stretches of silence while FUD or real issues swirl and gather strength creates an inviting vacuum for others – rivals, shorts, pundits, hedge fund managers – to fill with whatever they like.

Cleaning up after shitstorm after shitstorm is not effective public relations.

Apple’s problem is some vestige of Steve Jobs’ uh, interesting way of dealing – or, more precisely, not dealing – with the media and public relations and, increasingly, as the media expands and speeds up, Apple’s method does not work well, if at all, for Apple’s benefit.

Tim Cook should get some real PR people in there, experienced people with crisis-management experience, or, if he already has them on staff, he needs to unshackle them, trust them, and let them do their jobs for a welcome change.


  1. Don’t see why Apple needs to use social media. They are doing quite nicely last time I checked. Also, it seems Apple gets good coverage from the blog and twitter worlds

  2. disagree, best policy regarding horseshit is not to step in it. No amount of PR can positively channel gossip and intentional innuendo (aka horseshit, aka FUD.) The high road is to ignore it while striving to create the best possible product. It has worked very well so far for Apple.

    1. I agree with you. Most social media is garbage that can be manipulated. Fighting horse shit with garbage, even after you have played with the garbage seems less effective than just stepping over the horse shit.

  3. MDN nailed it, as usual.

    Apple does not counter crap like “Android has caught up to iPhone.” Then the next step: “Android has surpassed iPhone.” Apple ignores.

    Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the “truth.” Those who let lies go unchallenged deserve their fate.

    1. Sorry to disagree. It would be nice if Apple could come up with a way to safely handle bad PR but its a slippery slope. Samsung did a lot of PR on its latest launch and it still flopped.

      Lie to me once, shame on you…..
      Lie to me twice, shame on me.
      Just a thought.

      1. Did you mean:

        “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”?

        Or, perhaps:

        Fool me once, shame on you;
        fool me twice, shame on me.?

        Sorry. I agree with you point. Butchering the proverb just makes me kind of crazy.

  4. Absolutely MDN. Your observations are spot on. What worked in the past may not work today or in the future. I believe it is a carry over from the Jobs era. In the past Apple was basically up against Microsoft. Today it has a lot of competitors. Google is sneaky. Samsung is treacherous. You don’t have to drop down to their level but it’s time to come out swinging. A good PR department is able to put a positive spin on a company’s actions without looking defensive.

  5. Apple stays steady and true and that is enough for me to know how solid a company is. It doesn’t need to be over advertising or trying to defend against the social media or media trash.

    You can never silence critics, leeches, analysts or haters. Leave the trash where it is and stay vibrant inside the walls of your walled off garden.

  6. As someone who has about 50 people as “friends” on FaceBook (for those even less interested in FB, that number is laughably low from the perspective of the proficient FB user), and not a single tweet ever posted (although i DO have a Twitter account, which collects cobwebs), I have to say, for all Apple’s traditional marketing efforts (TV, print, web), Apple is leaving a gaping hole in one of the strategically most important media for building brand awareness and recognition.

    Social media is incredibly efficient tool for grass roots -type marketing. Apple already has legions of sleeper evangelists; they just need to mobilise them effectively during their own launches, as well as during competitor’s launches. It is NOT enough to have your fans talk about how great your new device is. It is even more critical if they poke fun of your competitor’s shiny new product (the way Samsung fans did when iPhone 5 came out).

    Traditional advertising channels are not the proper medium, and Apple would NEVER ever stoop to this. One of the first rule of traditional marketing is to NEVER acknowledge your competition, if you are the dominant player in the market (by doing that, you elevate their importance, and lower yours to their level). However, grass roots efforts, coordinated clandestinely by Apple’s PR, would suppress the effects of their PR campaigns. Samsung’s success with their Android devices is in good part a result of these astroturfing efforts in social media. You’d be shocked to find out how many people share these terse, humorous jabs at iPhone, with inferences how Samsung is better.

    Apple is clearly losing the social media PR battle, and someone has to do something about this.

  7. Advertising dollars is like extortion money. Apple stopped paying for advertising so the talking heads start building up their paying customers (like Samsung) and start trashing the competition that are not paying up for protection. Apple needs to start running great ads and pay these media stations off!

  8. When these “shitstorms” are really just bloggers and shills sitting in their own shit, under no circumstances should Apple acknowledge their existence. No one in the real world cares, and the tech press a needs a solid shot to the head to make them realize that the concerns of tone trolls and the fanboy wars amount to nothing.

  9. The problem with the social media lovers and promoters is that they fail to realize the whole world does not revolve around them. The vast majority of Apple customers do not sit around following Twitter or Facebook to be “engaged” with new product releases. Big fish in a small pond, who like to talk about themselves. There is a large industry based on “hanging out with the cool people” in the tech business. Every week there has to be a new “game changer” – a new trend or meme. In the end the truth is revealed and the true value of a product or idea is by the buying market, not the people who heard about something in a bar, or got a free demo unit from some company looking for a favorable review.

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