An inside look at Apple Anonymous and retail employee attempts to be both secret and social

An inside look at Apple Anonymous, an attempt to both secret and social

Even outside Cupertino, in the massive retail division of Apple, secrecy is a deeply held value. Yet people are, by nature, social animals, and platforms like Twitter and even Google+, filled with friends and family, are in many cases just too big to ignore. Some simply draw up a firewall, never mentioning anything not already public knowledge about their employer or their employment, and focusing on the non-Apple aspects of their lives. Others, however, want to use places like Twitter as a way to blow off company steam -- as a place to bitch about their jobs. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac has taken a look at that side of the Apple/Twitter equation:

Even with strict, Apple Corporate-implemented policies on social media usage of its employees, a portion of Apple retail employees have formed an under-the-radar, "Apple Anonymous" community over social media sites like Twitter and Google+. The majority of these employees work on these social media networks under "anonymous" personalities.

Gurman focuses on the @GeniusBarTales account in particular, on the Fearless Feedback concept at Apple Retail, Net Promoter for our People (NPP) surveys, and what, if any, role "Apple Anonymous" played in getting the word out about unpopular changes made by then Apple Retail head John Browett, since fired.

It's a long piece, but for anyone interested in Apple Retail, a fascinating one.

Source: 9to5Mac

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

An inside look at Apple Anonymous and retail employee attempts to be both secret and social


The secrecy these companies keep is ridiculous, and I mean no social networks that's even more ridiculous. And as far as whether or not the Genius Bar Tales account helped sort out issues, I believe it did. People need to be able to directly state their complaints and suggestions to these companies and they would be wise to listen to what people want. Social networks are a great way to do that, just have a group of people who monitor the accounts and take note of the issues/suggestions.

I believe the secrecy is needed; however, I believe the "leaks" that sometimes happen are sometimes intentional by the companies themselves to boost stocks or something. As for complaints, I agree. People should be able to complain and make suggestions without fear or persecution such as: docked pay, loss of benefits, or being fired.

It's not just Apple that maintains such "secrecy". Tons of companies have these policies, financial companies, for example. It's confidentiality, and it's a big deal. And once it's out there, it's out there. Most people take nothing seriously anymore, and think they're above the law and that the rules won't apply to them, it's entitlement attitude, and it's rampant. No one looks out for anyone but themselves, which is part of why the company has to employ such practices. You are there to work which isn't supposed to be a happy fun time all the time, not screw around online all day on someone's dime. There's a simple solution to not having to deal with such a policy: Don't go work for a company that has one. Don't like it, don't work there. Plenty of other companies will allow you to use social media, but you're on the clock, and unless your job is to be on social media all day, you're probably violating company policy being on there anyway.

It's one thing to bad mouth your own company. It's another to need to vent frustrations and move on. I think the "anonymous" Twitter accounts are a great way to do that. Genuine complaints should go to management early and often.

Anyone who isn't operating on social networks either anonymously or via a nom de plum, is naive at best. I have no intention of ever sharing any social networking information with any employer.

It's interesting how much stuff leaks out, for a company with such strict policies. Interesting read, nonetheless.