It’s the day before classes at UW-Madison and the weather outside is pretty crappy. Thus, I’m currently watching the Apple Live webcast while sitting in my sweatpants.
Let’s be honest: if the weather was amazing outside, I would still be glazed in front of my computer screen, listening to the recent innovations from Stevie and and the rest of the crew at Apple.
Nothing too mindshattering with the changes about the iPod nano, iPod touch, iPod shuffle. AppleTV doesn’t apply to me. The biggest innovation, in my opinion, from today’s event was the announcement of Ping: Apple’s new music social networking platform.
Ping’s features and functionality parallel that of Twitter:
- “Social music discovery” <-> Discovering posts on Twitter
- “Follow and be followed” <-> Basis of Twitter
- “Circle of Friends” <-> Like a Twitter List
- “Post your thoughts and opinions” <-> Core of Twitter (duh)
- “160 million iTunes users” <-> 100 million Twitter users as of April 2010
Do I think that Ping will act as a competitive force against Twitter? The answer is no. Apple’s new social media platform is focused on the subject of music, whereas Twitter has no agenda or overarching subject/topic. They are simply two different systems of communication.
However, I am making one simple hypothesis about Ping: Ping’s reach to a mass audience will help the general public understand what exactly Twitter is, how it functions in society, and how any person can use Twitter in his/her day-to-day life.
Let’s face it: you might understand what Twitter is, but your roommate or girlfriend may have no idea what the hell you mean when you say ” I just RTed the NYTimes” or “I follow the #wisconsin hashtag.” Twitter has a strong following, but the general person (“the general”)living in a developed country, in my opinion, does not understand how to use Twitter.
Back to Ping. I see Ping as a force that will help “the general” understand the nature of Twitter, using music as the vehicle that will drive the understanding. People know what music is and enjoy it. They like to talk about music. Music is used as an expression of their personality, feelings, and overall being. Apple essentially created a network that focuses on the love of music… a shared love/interest of one subject.
Twitter is like the wiser, more educated uncle of Ping. Instead of sharing the love of one subject, Twitter isn’t limited to an agenda. You can talk about music on Twitter, but you can also share information and stories about subjects ranging from cupcakes (like @flirtycupcakes, a Chicago-based cupcake bakery) to Jewish summer camps (shameless plug for @herzlcamp)… and everything in-between. This is where “the general” does not understand Twitter: without a defined binding force like music for Ping, “the general” overlooks the benefit of connecting on Twitter.
So, if you have one idea that you should take away from this post, it’s this:
Ping and Twitter share the same communication values. However, Ping provides a specific topic of conversation whereas Twitter has an open-ended dialogue. People who do not understand Twitter are lost in comprehending the open-ended dialogue, but Ping’s use of music as an overarching talking piece will help these individuals understand the power of Twitter.
So, now it’s your turn:
- What are your initial reactions to Ping? A stupid idea or something interesting?
- Do you think Ping will hurt or help Twitter?
- Should I stop thinking about social media and pack my books for my last first-day of class?