End User social networking

best use for Ping is on the golf course

When I was a lad I used to sit around listening to music, chewing the fat with my pals. Nowadays I hardly listen to any music other than on the rare occasional night in on my own with a steak and a bottle of red wine.

It may be a generational thing but I don’t actually have time for it. I don’t often watch TV so in the evenings I am on my laptop doing whatever I am doing. Most of the time music would break my concentration so I don’t have it on.

I use twitter a lot in the evenings. That’s instead of Facebook which I now only dip into every now and again. Sometimes I note that people I follow on twitter are listening to music. @jobsworth for example commutes into London and often tells us what he is listening to.

So when Apple announced a new TV service and Ping, a new social network based around music I found it difficult to get excited.

That isn’t to say I am not interested. Three of the engineers in the office have already signed up for Ping. They haven’t really got much to say about it yet other than it looks like another IM system.

Now three out of six of us in the Davies household have now signed up for Ping. I can’t say I’m going to be a frequent visitor. Here are my observations:

  • In order to get Ping I had to sign up to iTunes and leave them my credit card details. Even though I know it isn’t going to cost me this is a barrier. It actually puts me off Apple.
  • The set up process is very slow. I had to wait overnight for the confirmation email. This may be because of the rush of interest. The process for one of the kids to upgrade to version 10 firmware, necessary for Ping, took hours so the Apple servers must have been working overtime. The kids tell me that iTunes is often slow.
  • When I finally got online I was being inundated with suggestions of celebrities to follow. I’m not interested but that is probably a demographic issue.
  • It took me a while staring at the screen to understand how to work Ping. You just appear leave comments against your friends’ music recommendations. It also took me a while to understand twitter but that was more down to the nuances of how to get the best out of it. When I signed up I was up and running in seconds.

Clearly Ping is not targeted at me. It might have been all those years ago in my leisurely and indolent youth but it ain’t no more. I suspect that if this is Apple’s attempt at a social networking play it is too limited and narrow in its application. Ping may have legs but I suspect they won’t carry it very far.

PS I think I have a positive outlook on life but just couldn’t get excited here.

PPS I do use Ping golf clubs – a completely different type of social networking device and one I intend to revisit on a regular basis. Cost is a real barrier to entry though 🙂

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