Now I’ve had a chance to download Ping I thought I’d add a few more thoughts to yesterday’s ramblings.
So like Apple do, they created all the massive hype yesterday to triumphally announce their big new plans for world social media domination. A shiny new social network just for all of us who like music and can’t be bothered to find it anywhere else but iTunes. So presumably millions of early adopters and geeks worldwide frantically download iTunes 10 with its new, 80′s throwback logo and its Ping capabilities.
So we sign up, fill out the extremely basic profile which doesn’t allow HTML so really can’t be made to look interesting and certainly can’t link elsewhere because nowhere else exists outside of iTunes. We are told we like Alternative, Rock and Rap but that’s ok because we can change that to something less cliched (like Alternative, Rock and Pop in my case; I couldn’t face putting soundtracks down even if I am partial to a West End musical). We don’t have any friends yet but that’s ok, no need to panic because we can follow our favourite artists on there. Let’s see…they’re recommending Jack Johnson, Yo Yo Ma and Lady Gaga. Thanks but no thanks, I’ll check out what Kasabian are up to. Eh? No Kasabian listed. What about Radiohead? Nope. Erm, The Cribs? Nada. The Killers, surely as U.S. rock gods they’ll be there? Sorry. Kings of Leon (not a big fan but I’m getting desperate now). No go.
Why couldn’t Apple warn labels and bands that this was coming so that those of us who want to check it out whilst it’s still hot actually have a chance to communicate?
Frustrated, I decide to post out there into the wilderness so search for the post button…and there isn’t one. Turns out you can only comment on a post in the timeline, so I can say something about the latest item I bought, or reply to Coldplay’s posts (they’re on there because Chris Martin was guest of honour at the launch and they’ve already got 36000 followers so there are people out there).
I could go on, but I won’t. This is worse than I feared; it’s not at all like social networking in jail as was suggested yesterday, it’s like social networking in a dream where you just can’t get your words out and even when you do, nobody’s listening. And then when you wake up and try to talk about the dream nobody understands what you’re saying…because I can’t even link to a page to show you because it’s not on the web. How are we supposed to share any information we want to from Ping? Where is the ‘social’ or the ‘network’ apart from within the microcosm that is Apple?
I really don’t like being negative but I’m struggling to see the point of this apart from as a MySpace killer and a cynical vehicle to increase purchases from iTunes. Anyone see it differently so far?