Apple Gleans Most Coverage
Apple has recently attracted more coverage from the mainstream press than any other technology company, and Pew analysis indicates the bulk of it has been positive. From June 2009 through June 2010, 15% of the technology stories focused primarily on Apple, compared to 11% about Google.
More than 40% of the stories about Apple suggested that its products are innovative and superior in quality. (Note: stories may carry more than one thread so the totals may not add up to 100%.) Another quarter of stories, 27%, highlighted the company’s loyal fan base. Often this had to do with announcements of new products, Pew says.
Meanwhile, just 17% of stories about Apple suggested the company’s products are overhyped, and less than half that, 7%, portrayed it as too controlling with its products.
Google Gets Less Positive Attention than Apple
In Google’s case, positive themes governed the coverage as well, though not quite to the same extent as Apple. Half as much of Google’s coverage as Apple’s, (20% compared to 42%), portrayed its products as innovative and superior.
But even more stories, 25%, emphasized Google’s help in navigating the internet by making content more searchable and easier to find.
However, the third-most-prominent thread about Google was a negative one. The idea that the company has too much information and too much power appeared in 19% of the stories about Google. In one good piece of news for the company, only 2% of stories focused on allegations Google steals content from other sources.
SocNets Receive Some Negative Coverage
The two major social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, came next (7% and 5%). Coverage of both platforms was a mix of positive and negative press, with Facebook experiencing more negative publicity than Twitter.
Twitter’s coverage largely centered around its communication role during the Iranian protests in the summer of 2009. The two competing ideas surrounding Twitter are that the network helps disseminate information and connect people and that communication there is often pointless and self-centered.
In this coverage, especially centered on Twitter’s role in Iran, the positive influence heavily dominated. More than two-thirds of stories (68%) highlighted its role as a disseminator of information, while just 4% focused on the pointless nature of posts.
Attention to Facebook was largely focused on the service itself and its interaction with its users. Most stories, 36%, articulated the value of Facebook in fostering communication; another 17% focused on its related role in bringing people together. But more than a quarter discussed users’ dissatisfaction with Facebook’s privacy changes and Facebook’s attempt to alleviate those concerns.
Microsoft Little Noticed
Microsoft received little press at all between June 2009 and June 2010, only accounting for 3% of mainstream media technology coverage. It received just one-fifth the coverage of Apple, less than a third the coverage of Google and less than half the attention of Twitter. Pew says the one area of attention came in the search agreement with Yahoo in which Yahoo searches are now run on the Bing search engine.
Traditional Press Lightly Covers Tech
Technology companies not receiving much mainstream media coverage can take some relief in the fact that the traditional media pays little attention to technology, according to earlier findings from the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Pew tracked usage of the YouTube social media platform, blogs, and the traditional press from January 19, 2009 – January 15, 2010. Twitter usage was tracked from June 15, 2009 – January 15, 2010. Most significantly, Pew found that 43% of the lead news stories shared on Twitter fell into the technology category. This was only true for 8% of the lead news stories on blogs, and 1% of the lead news stories on YouTube and in the traditional press.