Clambering for comment

Increasingly New Zealanders are seeing their opinions in the headlines. I’m interested in how online comments and poll results from Stuff and the NZ Herald are now making print news headlines as editors try to share the mood of the nation.

This week’s launch of the iPhone 3G in NZ has been a terrific illustration of how comment boards attached to online articles are being used to define the editorial perspective of subsequent news media.

The public have been quick to spot and comment on a weakness in Vodafone’s greatly anticipated launch, with most people fuming about the iPhone’s expensive unit cost and pricing plans. And the NZHerald and Stuff wasted absolutely no time reporting this frustration as news.

This sort of open review by ‘innovators and early adopters’ about technology products has been happening in the blogosphere for years, but now the chasm has been crossed, and the ‘early majority’ are getting the lowdown delivered to their desktop through their daily news media.

The ease and speed with which people can air their views now has a massive influence on sales and brands. Companies need to acknowledge and respect this. At the end of the day, marketing is about the customer’s needs and wants.

Now it’s up to Telecom to read the nation’s mood and come up with a supercheap pricing plan for their iPhone users that blows Vodafone out of the water.

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