I don't know if Steve Jobs reads this blog, but if he does, I have some advice for him: Steve, you need to drive a truckload of cash to Robert Scoble's home, hire him and get him blogging. Fast!
OK, my suggestion that Apple should hire Scoble is said with tongue firmly in Apple desperately needs to have a friendly face that the public can look to for information and turn to when they have a question or an issuecheek, but I'm serious about the fact that Apple needs to get its skates on and start blogging. Apple desperately needs to have a friendly face that the public can look to for information and turn to when they have a question or an issue. The face also needs to be honest and actually hold the company to account when issues arise that affect customers.
For years Apple enjoyed almost totally positive coverage in the media. Apple was seen as the underdog by the public, a success story in the media and as nothing more than a nuisance by competitors. For years it managed to successfully trade off a brand. Problem is, I can't see how long it's going to manage to do that. Over the past few years the iPod has elevated Apple from being a nuisance into a major disrupter and that draws attention of all sorts. There have been numerous issues that have forced Apple's lumbering PR machine to make statements, and while the media and analysts are used to dealing with press officers and PR companies, customers are not. Tech-savvy customers want to have a two-way dialog with companies, but Apple is one-way only - we talk, you listen.
So far Apple has shown itself to be unfriendly to bloggers and blogging, but I see them being forced to change their ideas, and change them soon. There's a huge difference between a person that has a name and a face passing on information and a nameless, faceless, anonymous spokesperson. If Apple had embraced blogging earlier they might have avoided a lot of bad press over the iPod's poor battery life and the easy-scratch case. With blogs they might be able to better explain to the public current issues such as the Apple/Creative legal wranglings and the claims that slave labor is used in the manufacture of the iPod.
There's no doubt that having a blogger speak for the company is a double-edged sword - as with Scoble, the blogger can outgrow the company and take their "blog-juice" elsewhere (though I don't think that Apple would allow their blogger to blog about them on a personal blog like Microsoft did) - but I see the risks of not participating in the Blogosphere as being far greater. Apple has a massive fan base so building a successful blog should be easy.
Come on Apple, start blogging!