Back in 2010, the world of social media was exploding, and Apple clearly decided it wanted in on the action. With iTunes still being the most popular music platform back then, the company figured that it could capitalize on that by making the listening experience more social, and Ping was born.
When Steve Jobs introduced it, he described it as “Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” which was fair, except that people already had Facebook and Twitter, and most weren’t interested in signing up for yet another social network just to share their listening tastes and connect with their favourite artists.
To be fair, Apple wasn’t the only company trying to get in on the social media game back then, although it was the most high-profile company to fail to even get off the runway. Google launched its ill-fated Google+ social network around the same time, but at least that gained a pretty solid fanbase before finally getting shut down a few years later.
Dozens upon dozens of other small developers also attempted their own social networks, often tied to iPhone apps, but they all faced the same problem that Apple did: You can’t just build these things and expect people to show up, especially when all their friends are already hanging out elsewhere. After all, the most important thing for a social network is that it actually be “social.”
Ping ultimately became another big echo chamber, and Apple killed it off in 2012, saying that its customers had spoken, and the company just wasn’t willing to keep putting energy into building a place where nobody actually wanted to hang out.