Friday, September 3, 2010

Ping Social Network

On Wednesday, Apple released their version of a social network--Ping. Just as MySpace and Facebook began in a narrow niche market, Apple is taking this same approach to try to build a social networking site. Paralleling early Facebook, signing up is easy with a very finite profile and a general "no frills" approach to connecting with people who you may share music interests with. Unlike previous social networks though, the business model is immediately clear--provide a platform to expose people to new music and make it easy for them to purchase it from your service. It works too... within 3 minutes of signing up for it, I found a musician I had never heard of and liked the sound, so I bought the album (Le Pop Fantitique by Emilie Mover). Whether or not it will be successful as a social network and take a chunk of that market has yet to be seen, but I think as a platform to increase iTunes music sales it will prove to be fantastically successful.

That said... Ping seems to be a service that Lanier (author of You are Not a Gadget) would say places the technology (intended to drive the revenue stream) before the people since the people I follow are really incidental (I don't care who they are, only if I like the music they are sharing so I can find out about more music). However without that promotion of music, I would have no interest in the service... is this a consequence of having been socialized into impersonal social networks or, perhaps, I'll find that through continual use that I'll actually find myself caring about the random strangers with musical tastes that I particularly like?