Snow Leopard Attacks Twitter! (Meanwhile, Microsoft Mauls Itself)

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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Snow Leopard is the nickname for the latest version of Apple's operating system for the Mac. It's been well-received by reviewers, though most have generally noted that it's basically just a cleaner, tighter OS rather than a great leap forward. Keep in mind that, despite all the media coverage, the vast majority of computer users don't have a practical reason to pay attention to Snow Leopard, since Macs remain such a tiny segment of the overall computer market. Still, since Snow Leopard's release on Aug. 28, Twitterers haven't been able to stop tweeting about it.

Some observations about the latest Trendrr Chart of the Week:

  • Apple obviously knows how to make a product release -- even something as prosaic as a relatively minor OS upgrade -- into an event. On Sunday, Aug. 30, some 38,204 tweets name-checked Snow Leopard, dwarfing discussion of the interminably rolled-out release of Windows 7 (1,114 tweets on that same day), the successor to Microsoft's much-derided Vista operating system. Tweets about Windows 7 generally haven't pushed above the 5K-per-day mark recently, even though Microsoft has a vastly larger customer base than Apple.

  • Windows 7 doesn't get formally released until Oct. 22, though millions are already using it in beta, thanks to Microsoft's insanely complicated beta program, which has involved a morass of shifting download deadlines, "product keys" for activation and talk of "release candidate" editions (e.g., "Build 7100," not to be confused with "Build 7000," a version of which was leaked onto the web on torrent sites in January and was reportedly sometimes -- free bonus! -- Trojan-infected).

  • Not all tweets about Snow Leopard are created equal, of course. Some Twitterers come to praise it, some come to complain about it (there are compatibility problems, it turns out, with certain software programs), but few come to bury it -- or at least not in the way that Microsoft Vista was buried by its users.

  • All that said, the official fall release of Windows 7 will likely cause a huge spike in social-media commenting the day of and thereabouts. But by then, how much good will will Microsoft have squandered by taking such an odd, convoluted, slow-mo approach to releasing its latest OS?

  • Overall, Apple gets tweeted about considerably more than Microsoft. You might think that the generic quality of Apple's brand might cause it to artificially skew high, but in reality, from my skim of hundreds of recent tweets containing the word "apple," few pertain to the fruit (e.g., "New-Fashioned Apple and Raisin Slaw Recipe"). Most Twitterers have only one kind of Apple in mind.

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Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr, a social- and digital-media tracking service. More background here. A basic Trendrr account is free; Trendrr Pro, which offers more robust tracking and reporting tools, comes in various paid flavors (get the details here).

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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