10 things Apple can do to rescue its experiment in social networking
Apple AAPLannounced Friday that less than 48 hours after its launch more than 1 million people had signed up for Ping, its new social network for music.
That’s not necessarily a good thing, given how many of those people are complaining — loudly and with pretty good reason — about Ping’s shortcomings. Among the more articulate gripers:
TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld.The Problem with Ping: “The biggest problem I have with Ping is that it lives in iTunes. Not only does it live in iTunes, it is isolated there. iTunes is not social. It is not even on the Web.”
Scripting News’ Dave Winer.Ping: It’s even worse than it appeared: “Ping is not a social network, by any realistic definition of the term… My guess as to why we can’t post to the timeline is that Apple is afraid we might say something harsh about them or Ping.”
Cthulhu and other crazies’ Swizec.Apple’s Ping is a big pile of steaming dung: “Meh I give up, there is nothing worth following on Ping. The artists I do find are labeled as users and everybody knows it’s not really them there, it’s some automated bot thing to keep us notified of their stuff.”
So what can Apple do to turn Ping into something that feels like a real social network, not just a way to sell more music? Here are 10 suggestions, culled from the complaints:
Fix the navigation system, starting with a back button [UPDATE: back and forward buttons were added on Saturday]
Keep out the spammers and scam artists [UPDATE: By Monday, the spam had all but disappeared]
Expand the “Music I Like” choices beyond three genres and 10 songs
Link Ping to our libraries so we can “like” the songs we’re listening to, not just the ones we bought on iTunes [UPDATE: Added 9/25/10]
Add simple ways to find out what our friends are listening to
Create a mechanism for sharing playlists, ratings, number of plays, etc.