Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

Summary: There's no sign of Apple representatives in the social media world this must mean they are barred by company policies.


Is there any sign of Apple representatives on the social web? I haven't seen any but that might be because I haven't looked hard enough.

Is it possible to lure Apple representatives to respond to articles, blog posts, or any other online discussions on social networks or anywhere?

Maybe. I've tried and I continue to try. And it is an interesting experiment.

Here on ZDNet and also on Silicon Valley Watcher I've written about my bad experience with Apple's AppleCare warranty service. And it has gotten quite a lot of comments (95 on ZDNet) with people sharing their bad experiences.

Unlike a rolling stone these posts continue to gather bad stories about Apple. And they don't stop gathering bad stories...

Just recently I got whole bunch more -- five weeks after I wrote about AppleCare. For some reason, a whole bunch of people rediscovered that post, and left another load of bad stories about Apple.

Yet still nothing from any Apple representatives. You would think that it would make good sense for Apple to leave a comment, anything. Just to show it is listening. That, in itself, can go a long way to help defuse bad feelings. But, no, there is nothing.

This is strange. This means Apple must have a company policy to not engage in social media at all. There can be no other explanation.

This company directive must come from the top. Steve Jobs has a reputation as a micro-manager and control freak.

And on the social web there is no control over your message. It will be "annotated" by thousands, potentially millions of people. It takes balls to put yourself in front of people on the social web.

Apple seems to be lacking the balls. But let me help Apple get some balls with some advice. You can lose control over your message if you don't engage. If you let others act for you, answer for you, set your agenda for you.

On the social web the c-word: Control gets replaced with another c-word: Consistency. Be consistent, say it once, a hundred times, ten-thousand times. Be consistent with your message. That's what people will remember.

The other thing people will remember is when you show you aren't listening, you aren't interested, you come across as arrogant. You have $26 billion in cash earned from your customers and you don't care about your customers, what they are saying about you, what problems they are having. That's memorable.

Is that what you want? Is that the message you are striving to communicate? If that's the case you are succeeding incredibly well.

- --

Please see:

RantWatch: Shoddy AppleCare - arrogant Apple

Fanboys come for free - If Apple were an airline it wouldn't have frequent flier miles

Topics: Apple, Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nothing wrong with that

    Apple does rely on secrecy, especially in their R&D, to get more bang for their buck when the product is finally announced. I could see why Apple would want their employees not talking about their jobs in the social media. I can see why a lot of companies would want the same thing.
    Michael Kelly
  • Honestly, do you think anyone from any company

    is going to respond if they are not authorized to do so? Apple is not obliged under any law to respond to your blog post, and have the right to remain silent.

    Time to change tactics. You keep banging the same drum hoping for a different result.

    If so dissatisfied with the service you have other options at your disposal. Such as, buy a PC vs a Mac, or report the incident to a consumer reporting agency such as the Better Business Bureau.

    Having dozens or even thousands of complaints about it on a blog is not likely to change the tune of a company. But if those complaints get to consumer reporting agencies, to where the satisfaction level of the customers starts to go down, then maybe they will take heed.

    I guess if I was in a administrative position at some company, I wouldn't pay much mind to someone's blog posts, nor would I make business decisions based on blogs. I would be looking at Consumer Reporting Agencies that rate customer satisfaction, and try to improve #'s with a company who's job it is to survey customer satisfaction.

    Edit: Take for instance on this particular site there are a large # of people who just sit back and bash Apple, MS, or linux for the hell of it. Do you really think that a company is going to take that seriously. Those opinions are dead set, and not likely to change.
    • Blogs and actions taken

      Quote: [i]I guess if I was in a administrative position at some company, I wouldn't pay much mind to someone's blog posts, nor would I make business decisions based on blogs.[/i]

      This isn't some pent up nerd sitting at home on his computer blogging to his WordPress.com account. ZDNet is taken (I would imagine) somewhat seriously.

      And (apparently) some computer companies check well known blogs:
      Quote: [i]Hewlett-Packard, after being flogged in public, contacted me and replaced my broken laptop that they had earlier claimed was accidentally damaged and not covered by their warranty.[/i]
      WoW > Work
  • A couple of things

    [i]Just recently I got whole bunch more ? five weeks after I wrote about AppleCare. For some reason, a whole bunch of people rediscovered that post, and left another load of bad stories about Apple.[/i]

    ZDNet re-sends links of old stories in their monthly recaps e-mails. I' guessing that's why you got a sudden flood of new comments on an old story.

    [i]This is strange. This means Apple must have a company policy to not engage in social media at all. There can be no other explanation.[/i]

    Umm, this is surprising? Pretty much every decently-sized company out there tells its regular employees not to comment in public. They have people specifically assigned to that. And Apple always keeps their message even closer to themselves than most other companies.

    Apple is arrogant?? No way...

    Heck, they even delete posts from customers in need from their own support message boards! And since they consistently get good word-of-mouth, and endorsement from its customers, apparently they don't really need to take care of otherwise unsatisfied customers in need. If that is not the epitome of arrogance, I don't know what is.
  • You're overestimating your weight

    If you think Apple or Microsoft or any of these companies care that you received 95 or 1095 responses to your rant about their product, you're kidding yourself.

    Want them to pay attention?

    The clue is second last paragraph. Show up at their stockholder's meetings.
  • It's not a mistake to keep quiet

    If you actually have a problem with Apple kit, you get treated pretty reasonably in my experience.
    I agree, it probably is a Big Brother type edict from Steve Jobs, but it is a pretty good strategy overall.
    The secrecy and tight lipped approach generates a huge amount of speculative copy, or free publicity, and there is a genuine buzz when the curtain is drawn back.
    With just-in-time media, a manufacturer is in for a hiding for nothing, because no-one can keep up with every blog/opinion piece.
    It isn't very touchy feely for a Californian company, but the 26bn speaks for itself.
    • I see

      Jeez, I'm glad I'm bilingual.
  • CRM and Social Media

    I think that Social Media is probably a tool that's easier to use for CRM than it is to drive sales. And I think that Apple's actual products do enough to retain customers that they don't need to worry as much about CRM. So I'm not too surprised that the company isn't investing in resources in social media when other tactics help them keep their numbers up despite customer service problems.
  • There is nothing wrong with showing you listen...

    I don't think that APple should give away company secrets or anything
    like that. I think it is interesting that it has a policy of non-involvement
    of any kind whatsoever. And yes, this is an experiment to see if I can
    tempt anyone at Apple to respond--in any way at all.

    It is fascinating to see a company that is so large and successful yet so
    closed. Maybe everyone else should take note and do the same. Or is this
    a mistake? I guess we'll find out one way or another.
  • Beats me

    My old IBM laptop kept running just fine for years, even at camp. Of course my wife did drop it once and bust the disk drive, but the rest of the computer came through in flying colors.

    I'm not very happy with Apple anyway. My son's laptop crapped out this summer because it couldn't handle the humidity. Apple repair folks said that the logic board needed replacement.

    Speaking of dropping, another student at my son's college dropped his mac from waist height and totalled it.

    Mac laptops may be skinny and lightweight; but they're also pathetically non-robust systems. And I have NEVER heard of the U.S. military using Macs in a combat environment; which should tell you something very important about how good a Mac really is.
    • Are you serious?

      If the laptop crapped out, it probably does need a logic board
      replacement. Go to Apple's support page, find the laptop from the
      drop-down menu on the left, click "technical specifications," select
      the exact model of the laptop and read. There is always a section that
      describes the operating environment required and it should tell you
      humidity and temperature. If the laptop was used in conditions
      outside of those specified, that's your bad. If it was not, contact Apple
      Care and get them to pay for your logic board. (Assuming it is not
      already under Apple Care, and assuming you can prove the damage
      was from humidity.)

      Drop any laptop and see what happens. They break. Unless you get
      very lucky. But if that friend was my son, he'd be getting a netbook to
      replace the Apple laptop. That way when he drops it again, it only
      costs $180 to buy him a new one. Or he'd get a job and buy it
      himself. Maybe learn to treat his possessions more carefully.

      I've had six or seven Apple laptops over the years. I've never had one
      break from mistreatment, and yes, some of them were dropped. The
      oldest one I still have is from 2000; It works. No dead pixels, no
      strange issues. Nothing wrong with it. But I'm not a teenage boy, so
      maybe that's the difference.

      Anyway, call Apple Care, and speak politely to them about the laptop.
      They've been known to help people who are out of warranty or who
      didn't buy Apple Care. But they don't help everyone, so I suggest
      polite persistence. : )

      BTW. My ex husband brought his MacBook Pro to Iraq, and it came
      back with him in one piece. The military didn't buy it for him, but it
      sure was there.
  • RE: Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

    Come on Tom, stop being such a douchebag!

    For everyone like you that wants to kick Apple, there are
    others that would praise their quality of service, myself

    "This means Apple must have a company policy to not
    engage in social media at all. There can be no other

    Do you know how retarded you sound when you say junk
    like that? People value your opinion, but you devalue your
    credibility when you post brainless moronic statements like

    Howabout, and this is just me stabbing in the dark here,
    howabout maybe Apple regards direct communication
    between customer and rep as a slightly higher barometer
    of customer service? Anyone can post a comment on a
    blog afterall....

    • You could be right...

      I'm curious as to why Apple would want to remain silent. Maybe we could
      hear that from Apple instead of trying to guess what the truth is.
      • Me, I'm curious as to why...

        [Insert Company name here] would not prefer, if not require, its employees to not shoot their mouth off in public regarding company business.

        I wonder, do you think there's be no downside if you (in the case of zdnet) or me (in the case of who I work for) if either of us said a few bad things in public about the company/people we work for?

        FYI, there are plenty of Apples, Yahoos and Serfs that are on social media sites, it's just that they steer clear of what happens at work. It's just common courtesy, professional ethics etc.
  • RE: Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

    While their products have (nearly) always been exceptional and innovative, IMHO there has always been a smugness of attitude at Apple. Perhaps, this smugness is an arrogance that predisposes them to deny faults.
  • RE: Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

    I called AppleCare yesterday and they were great. They answered the phone in less than a minute. The issues was escalated from their tier 1 support to tier 2 support in less than 10 minutes.

    The tier 2 agent was knowledgeable, friendly, and quickly helped me to solve a difficult problem.

    Maybe Apple's response is to make their support better and let that do the talking for them?

    Darren Starr
    • They've been good to me too

      If I worked at Apple, I'd ignore this cyber-rag and the other one that
      ends in net.

      But I too have had no problems with Apple. I ordered an iPod for my
      mother and had it engraved. It was at her door two and a half days
      later, from China to the east coast! It takes five days for UPS to deliver
      a package mailed within the state!

      I once called Apple Customer Service because my retail box
      installation disk for OS X Tiger had a crack. Tiger sells for more now
      than it did when Apple carried it. Not only did they send me a new
      disk for no charge, they paid the postage to get it to me. I was
      expecting to pay a small replacement fee or something. No complaints
      from me, so far anyway.
  • Thanks for uncovering this!

    So because Apple doesn't read/respond to your blog it
    means Steve Jobs has forbid them to? That took some first
    class journalism to uncover that. Silly me, I would probably
    just have contacted Apple and asked them, but I guess wild
    unsubstantiated speculation is a vastly superior method!
  • RE: Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

    Leave steve jobs and apple alone. how daft are you. So your post along with thousands of others was overseen, not just by apple I'm sure but by thousands upon millions of other people online who don't care. I have never had a problem with apple or apple care or even my ipod or iphone that wasn't dealt with quickly and professionally- in fact I have even looked forward to having to call apple care on occasion. In fact Apple even restored all 600+ of my itunes files i lost when my mac (out of warranty) died. Yes, they did it for free and authorized it in less than 5 minutes! Quit whining about a bad experience. Sounds to me like you have the consistency thing down in one area- whining. No wonder apple didn't care to comment. When I first read this article it reminded me of one of those hidden pc guy commercials, what do you do work for bill gates?
  • RE: Has Steve Jobs banned Apple staff from social media?

    No other explanation?!? Sorry, but just because no one
    comments on MY blog doesn't mean everyone at say, Adobe,
    is banned from commenting. It means they haven't read it or
    don't care!!! Whatever you do: don't step into the Total
    Perspective Vortex. To find out how much you matter will
    obviously be too painful. Your article's other point even is
    very debatable since it can look desperate running around
    the web countering negative "advertising".