Socializing is impossible to avoid in modern day.
Between the countless amounts of BBMs, tweets and photo tags that the average college student absorbs every day, we’ve become a generation constantly linked in. But does this idea of social overload translate to buying music? Apple seems to think so.
iTunes users who updated to iTunes 10 found a surprise waiting for them between the “iTunes Store” and “Home Sharing” options on their sidebar. This surprise was Ping, Apple’s new effort to enter the social networking market.
“One of the biggest things we focus on with iTunes is discovery,” said Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple at a press conference on Sept. 1. “With over twelve million songs, how do you find out about new stuff? There’s really not a great way to do that….So in iTunes 10, we’re announcing: Ping.”
Ping’s recipe is pretty simple: two parts Twitter, two parts Facebook and a dash of the lesser-known Last.fm. Like Twitter, users use their profile to “follow” other members, which can either be artists or personal friends. The posts that users create can include recently purchased songs, upcoming concerts, reviews that they have written on iTunes and comments on other people’s posts. Artists are also able to post videos and photos for their followers.
Users can also display their top-10 favorite songs in their profiles, as well as their followers. All of the albums and songs posted are linked to the iTunes music store, so users can preview and purchase the music they see in one click.
Although Ping does not have its own website, Apple has still made Ping an experience that can be accessed on-the-go. According to Ping’s website, “you don’t need to be at your computer to follow your friends. Ping works on the iTunes app on iPhone and iPod touch.”
The real question is if kids will one day obsessively check their Pings in the same way they check their Facebooks. Despite 20-year-old architecture major Ryan Wakat’s use of Ping, he said he still remains skeptical.
“It still doesn’t seem very streamlined,” Wakat said. “It’s good if you already have iTunes, but I don’t think it’s going to catch on.”
Whether or not it will catch on still remains to be seen. Ping still remains relatively unknown to CU students, as many of them have attested to. Out of 20 people asked only three people had heard of it, and only one of those three used it. However, the program is only two weeks old, and seems to have a promising future. Larger artists, such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, already have followers in the hundreds of thousands. With 160 million iTunes users, Apple seems to have set itself up for success.
Only the time will tell if Ping can catch on in the same way Facebook and Twitter has, or if it will join the likes of Myspace and Xanga in the social networking graveyard.
Contact CU Independent Writer Matt Glassett at Matthew.email@example.com.