Just two strikes and Ping’s out for me

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Like many other people, I’ve joined Ping, Apple’s new social network integrated into the latest iTunes 10 release that the company launched last week.

Reaction by critics and pundits hasn’t been particularly positive even though Apple says over a million people joined Ping within the first couple of days following its release. I’ve already seen the word ‘Ping’ spelled out as ‘Ping Is No Good.’

So what is Ping exactly? Apple says:

[… Ping is] a new music-oriented social network for following your favorite artists and friends to discover what music they’re talking about, listening to and downloading. iTunes Ping lets you post your thoughts and opinions, your favorite albums and songs, the music you’ve downloaded from iTunes, plus view concert listings and tell your friends which concerts you plan to attend.

Straightforward: a niche social network for music fans. I like music and I do use iTunes but I’m not the kind of person who would simply sign up for this because it’s there or because it comes from Apple or for some other auto-reason. There would have to be a strong compulsion for me to actively participate in Ping.

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t offer that from my perspective. For instance, take a look at my Ping home page within iTunes.

The first thing I see are recommendations by Apple on artists and people to follow. I’ve never heard of any of the artists. I’d like to know why Apple makes these recommendations, or at least give me a way to find out some meaningful information to discover about them that isn’t just Ping profiles.

So there’s the first strike for me. More importantly, though, is that iTunes says that the first band I search for myself in order to follow them can’t be found. That band is Calexico and they’re definitely in iTunes, in the iTunes Store, as I’ve bought their music before.

So that’s two strikes.

Unfortunately, I’m just not that interested in Ping to press on or find the third strike. They lost me: as far as I’m concerned it’s two strikes and I’m out.

I’ll stick with Twitter as my social network that often includes discussion about artists and music – like this one last night: #vivaldigate – and Blip.fm as my music-sharing and -recommendation engine that I’ve been using for the past couple of years. As for purchasing music, I’ll continue doing that on iTunes from time to time although I tends to buy more online these days from Amazon: cheaper and none of Apple’s proprietary restrictions nonsense.

How about you? Are you using or planning to use Ping?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Branedy

    If you want strike three, search of any of your ‘friends’ there, I found none of mine, few though they be, but since they can’t connect to twitter or facebook, they can’t see who your friends are.

  2. Sebastian

    Ping definitely seems unfinished on the social side. And if reports are true that they had Facebook integration which got taken out at the last minute because Facebook blocked something on the API that would explain the result. As it stands, Ping has indeed little value, instead it creates work: who takes the time to manually recreate his social graph anymore. Add to that the fact that you recommend tracks in the Store, not from your library…
    Therefore, as of now, back to the bench.

    On a sidenote, Apple’s proprietary restrictions on music are gone for a while now. All tracks are “+”-tracks and have no password restrictions when you want to “lend them to a friend”.

  3. Luis Oliveira

    Well, the reaction seems to be “who needs another social network, really?” My personal answer is “not me.” Still, I’ve heard of the artist known as “50 cent,” I may even heard a song or seen a video clip on the tele.

  4. Joe Walton

    Ping seems like a attempt to cut off last.fm and the like. It makes commercial sense to take back ipod users using these services then buying mp3s from other suppliers. I am not sure it offers anything that hasn’t been done before and better.

    I can while a way an afternoon listening to recommendations on last.fm. I have discovered the odd new artist and (most commonly) it brings up lost CDs. At least it shows it knows my tastes.

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