Following up on my earlier Apple post... after writing that I saw that Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim wrote an item called Apple’s Social Media Hell - Why it Needs to Repent, talking about Robert Scoble's outburst about his malfunctioning Mac.
Andy's point is that as Apple becomes more mainstream it won't be able to defend on a legion of hardcore fans to come to its defense. I'm not sure that's true; I don't think the fanboys are going anywhere. And I take issue with his example; he compares Scoble's post to the "Dell Hell" blog item of a while back, but there's a crucial difference; the Dell Hell item was someone complaining about specific Dell service policies, whereas it sounds like Scoble's Mac wouldn't start so he immediately fired off an obscenity-laden blog post. (Me, I would have tried a few things like booting from the install disks and then called AppleCare). That, plus working in a complaint that Apple doesn't give him free stuff, makes the Scoble post more like the screams of a toddler having a bad day than anything serious. If Apple were the most social media oriented company on earth, they still might want to skip responding to Scoble's post. (Or leave it to Fake Steve Jobs!)
It's an interesting question, though. Does increased popularity force a company like Apple to tune in to social media?