Everyone has been blogging about the iPhone 4GS prototype investigation for over a week now. R.E.A.C.T's possession of Gizmodo's editor Jason Chen's Internet property adds another dimension to the case. I do not need to summarize the whole situation for you. The above links has all the background information you need to form your own opinions. I am here to provide you, the blogger, with some meaningful advice that you can take away from this dispute. I am the neutral party and Devil's Advocate in this post. I do not favor Gizmodo's or Apple's actions over the other.
1. Be prepared and responsible for your own actions. When bloggers generate ideas and research blog topics for their blog posts, bloggers must give acknowledgement to the blogger, organization, or entity they took those ideas from if the content is not originally theirs. All bloggers must take responsibility for any possible backlashes or consequences when information is posted on their blogs.
Jason Chen took a risk when he posted his observations of the lost iPhone 4GS prototype on Gizmodo.com. Whether or not he knew that his findings would get him into legal trouble, Mr. Chen should have known that Apple Inc. will not act quietly to retrieve back its merchandise because it does not play when it comes to safeguarding its secrets and products. All bloggers must be accountable for every aspect of their personal brands, including the validity and potential value of your content. The First Amendment has its limitations you know.
For a multi-billion dollar company that strongly emphasizes on individuality and innovation, it seems one-minded when it comes to you, the consumer. Does Apple allow public relations representatives or engineers to tweet or use other social media outlets to engage current and future Apple customers about their projects or the company's status on these projects like Intel and Google? No. Apple frankly does not even have an official Facebook page.
If Apple desires bloggers and new media publications to discuss its products, it should embrace social media to communicate with its costumers and strengthen its cultural leverage and reputation. When Apple found out that Gizmodo possessed the missing iPhone, Apple's spokesperson could have made a public statement similar to this: "Yes, this is the prototype. We at Apple are at the initial stages of the new iPhone. We will deal with Gawker Media privately, but we encourage our supporters to add their output and suggestions about improving this device. We would be more than willing to reach out to them via [email, mail, social media, phone,etc.] Thank you for your time." Done.
Steve Jobs, if you are out there, have your supporters be a part of the beta-testing process and your social media campaign (if you decide to form one). When it comes to social media and social marketing, it should be a two-way street for the organization (or business) and its followers. I do not know what will happen next in this ordeal, but I will say is that bloggers should be more careful when things gets political.
What are your views about this ordeal? What should bloggers and the new media community do next? What should happen to Jason Chen or Gizmodo legally?