Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ping and the future of social networking

You might’ve heard of Ping. Apple’s new-ish social networking service, for music people, integrated into the iTunes Store. Are you a music person? Am I a music person? Most people listen to music, don’t they? So why make a social network ONLY about music?! I’m all for new and exciting ideas. If there’s a social site that does something new and interesting, and my friends are in too, I’m in. But Ping is just Facebook, stripped of its most basic features. In fact, there really isn’t much of an incentive to check your friends’ stuff on Ping. Your news feed generally only contains updates from artists you’ve purchased music from, and even these updates are just forwarded twitter posts. So basically, Ping is twitter, but without posts from anyone who isn’t involved in the music industry, and the ability to have your iTunes reviews linked with a social account. Wait…wasn’t that what my Apple ID was for? I don’t want to sound too cynical here, I’m sure the social behemoths of today were pretty crumby when they first started. But if Ping doesn’t do anything new, will it ever become a behemoth? Unlikely.
So, what does Ping need that all the other big sites don’t already have to make it the ‘next big thing’? By nature, a social network based solely on music is already hugely segmenting their audience, so I guess Ping will never really take off the way Facebook has until everyone starts being interested in what Taio Cruz had for lunch.

Now, off the whole Ping thing…What does a social network need to be to become THE number one? Well, quite simply, it needs to be for everyone, by everyone, and about everyone. A place where everyone can interact, safely. Just because I’m not friends with somebody doesn’t mean we can’t interact somehow. Maybe not on a very personal level like an online chat..But somehow. I think I have my next big idea.

(DISCLAIMER: I know you can talk to people on Facebook etc etc without being friends, but you get the picture.)

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