Yesterday Apple launched their first social network, Ping. Less than 24 hours later this new platform has received extremely mixed reviews and users are already highlighting issues with the system. With numerous social networking sites already established, and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter dominating the arena, where does Ping fit in?
Embedded in the latest version of iTunes, Ping, as you might imagine, revolves around music. Ping is designed to aid the discovery of new music and facilitate conversations between music lovers. When you login you can see the activity of your friends, including information about music they’ve purchased and are listening to. Apple are also plugging the fact that users can follow celebrities, much as they can with Twitter and Facebook, allowing celebs another opportunity to connect with their fans and endorse artists/albums. Fans can then purchase the music their idol loves by clicking the handy link taking them to the Apple store. Genius.
It is worth mentioning that privacy restrictions on this site allow users to choose whether their updates can be seen by all users or only by users they have allowed to follow them.
So what does this mean for social media? Well, with an already established fan base there is a strong likelihood that Apple’s Ping could push similar platforms, such as Last.fm and Spotify, off the radar. This also doesn’t bode well for MySpace, the site has already been dwarfed by Facebook and is now clinging to its status as a platform for new artists to showcase work. It could be that Ping becomes the new, more convenient, networking site for music related conversations…
However, so far reviews have not been great. Users have pointed out flaws such as the fact that Ping only displays music people have purchased in the iTunes Store, not their entire collection, resulting in a skewed view of a user’s music tastes. Further, users are limited to listing only three genres of music that they are interested in, and the music suggestions that Ping generates based on these three genres are extremely generic and mainstream, not the niche, up-and-coming bands that music fans may be looking for!
So, will it or won’t it take off? Right now it’s anybody’s guess. With mixed, predominantly negative, reviews, Ping hasn’t got off to a great start. But let’s not forget this is an Apple product, they have a huge, dedicated, fan base that has to have any product Apple releases.
All that’s left now is to sit back and watch how this unfolds… Ping has arrived. For now.
To be continued…
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- Ping: First Look at the iTunes Social Network (nytimes.com)
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