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On the demise of Ping

Ping: What went wrong | Macworld: “And therein lies Ping’s primary defect. Though dressed in social garb, at its heart, it’s a crude advertising vehicle. And one—undoubtedly to the great disappointment of some at Apple—that too many people saw through.”

(Via Macworld.)

Another great article from Christopher Breen. I’d add that another of Ping’s shortcomings is that you can’t simply post links to interesting articles, stories, pictures, etc. Artists could post whatever they wanted, but regular users like you and me had to start every conversation with a link to a song in iTunes. Talk about “marketing smell.” That limitation was just plain stupid.

Part of me thinks that any social network that tries to limit people to just talking about music is doomed to fail, anyway. I mean, I love music more than the average person, but I don’t always want to share only music. Sometimes, I want to share stories about music, apps that help you make music, books on the subject of music, pictures of my favorite bands, etc. The reason Facebook works so well is that you can literally share anything about anything. Sure, this leads to a lot more noise than signal, but it also encourages participation. I have a hard enough time finding things that I find post-worthy on a social network without the network itself telling me what I can and can’t post.

I know the current trend is towards more targeted social networks, but that’s simply a reaction to Facebook’s monopoly. I have to think that most of those mini networks will either be acquired by Facebook or die from lack of participation eventually. A small, targeted audience can’t live on advertising as easily as Facebook. You’ll never have a big enough audience to pay the bills.