Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple dominates tech chatter, doesn't do enough to shape it

July 12, 2013: 8:30 AM ET

That's the conclusion of a social media study of four major smartphone launches.

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.56.15 AMFORTUNE -- Remember the flurry of headlines last week labeling the iPhone 5 the "most-hated" smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy S4 the "most-loved"?

It looked to me like a cheap shot by a London tabloid editor, amplified by the echo chamber of lazy journalism. See Who says Apple's iPhone 5 is the 'most-hated smartphone'?

Well I finally tracked down Ed Kitchingman, the senior analyst at We Are Social who did the original research.

"I thought you hit the nail on the head in your piece about the Mail and 'most loved', 'most hated,'" he wrote via LinkedIn. He also attached a link to a report on his findings that he posted this week on We Are Social's website.

As I suspected, his conclusions bore no resemblance to the "most-hated" business reported as news by, among others, the Daily Mail, ABC News, The Examiner, IT Wire, Android Community, The Droid Guy, Daily Finance, Mobile & Apps, International Business Times and The Boy Genius Report. (Links omitted; you can do the Google News search yourself.)

What Kitchingman actually found was that the iPhone 5 dominated -- by far -- the launch day conversations on Twitter and other social media platforms (see chart above), but that its competitors did a much better job of steering the discussion.

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.

By contrast Apple (AAPL), 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."

"[Apple]'s lack of proactivity and staid marketing tactics," he concludes, "leave the social space open for other brands to take advantage."

For Kitchingman's report, see Mobile launches: a social snapshot.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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