Apple is going social

Apple has been known for being, for a lack of better word, anti-social. They have no official Facebook, Twitter or anything outside a Fan Page for iTunes. If memory serves me correct I don’t even think the employees can talk about work on social networks or blogs.

The recent announcement for the new iPods Apple announced two social initiatives. They are Game Center and Ping.  Game Center is a way to make gaming more social on your iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. It allows you to play against friends and compare scores and stats. I think this is something good for gaming on the devices. Steve Jobs said in the presentation that the iDevices as I call them, are the top mobile gaming platform, which others has disputed, but for argument sake we are going to go with it. Before there were few opportunities for people to play games together.

I have looked over a few of the write-ups and from what I gather it works a little like this… You can assign a few email address to game center so people can find you, then send friend request to have them on your list. Then after they have accepted your friend request they will show up on your leader board. If you see them playing another game you can down load it by doing a simple tap you can down load the new game. This isn’t available till the new iOS download happening soon. It will be interesting to see how this works. I think it will be a good thing for gaming but not sure if it will bring new gamers in big numbers.

The second social initiative is Ping, and it’s been the most controversial. You have heard more about Ping then Game Central. After it was announced the New York Times broke a story that it caused major friction between Apple and Facebook. It went on to say that the share on Facebook was disabled, so it’s caused a bit of a fuss. Then another blogger said that it will be a My Space killer, which I don’t think will happen but its definitely competition for MySpace.

Ping is a social network set up in iTunes. It’s a very basic Facebook. I have signed up and very few artists I like have signed up for it. One of the most active so far is Lady Gaga. Which should be no surprise since she is very social media savvy. You can also find your friends and see what they buy or what they like. It also allows for you to post status updates. I think it’s interesting but I’m still divided if it will catch on. They have 116 million registered users and only 1 million has signed up so far. But like all things Apple they start very cautiously then build on it. Look at the iPhone it started as a basic phone and now you can edit videos on it. So, we’ll see what they do with it.

I think apple going to more social activities is a good thing. I hope they continue this and build on it. I am really interested to see how Ping plays out and if Game Central catches on, what is your opinion of these networks? Good ? Bad?

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

One comment on “Apple is going social

  1. Reply Nick September 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I think they had to, and am surprised that they were surprised at consumer anger, and the people in general.
    It can be a good thing for them, and I hope they use it wisely.
    For a company as big as Apple and as much money a they make, I don’t understand how they can NOT have understood consumer input aside from random surveys…

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