Ping.fm purports to let you update a bunch of social sites all at once. It is in beta now, and you have to have the current betacode to get an account. The current betacode is “letmeping”. They keep changing it. I have no idea how long that code will be good.
I found a valid betacode somewhere, and was let onto the system.
Here are the social networks currently supported:
- Plaxo Pulse
And here are the application level things they support:
- AOL Instant Messenger
- Google Talk (GTalk)
- iGoogle Gadget
- Facebook Application
- iPhone Web App
- Mobile App (WAP)
Let’s see, I have a blogger and a twitter account so I fed my credentials into those. (As an aside, it seems we are awfully cavalier about feeding credentials into third party sites these days. I don’t particularly care about blogger or twitter so I didn’t mind giving those up.)
What do we have here? They give you a secret email address. So if you send any email to it it will post to all the services you have active. Big woop! Email is about as exciting as the Partridge Family. If you get on the ping.fm website you can post what looks like a tweet. If you use the default destination it sends it to all your setup services. So I sent a tweet that looks like this “Testing ping.fm” and it automatically did a twitter update AND posted that on a test blogger blog. I don’t want a blog post consisting of the line “Testing ping.fm” so I had to delete it. You can limit your updates to microblogs, and I tried that and it limited itself to twitter.
You can create your own triggers and further customize who gets the updates but I think there is a fundamental flaw with trying to categorize them too heavily at the level that they are.
And then they have an API, which might let someone build some power web apps that are stronger than this plain vanilla usage they give you.
What do I think? Ping.fm is interesting but still pretty beta. If I were on Plurk I would use Ping.fm so I could tweet both twitter and plurk at the same time. However I think twitter is a waste of time anyway and other than the wordpress autotweeting whenever I update my blog I hardly ever use it. Perhaps someone will write a wordpress plugin to wrap around ping.fm.
And what about blog posts? To me blog posts are articles. I do not want to duplicate an article across many blogs because I would both dilute the focus of the individual blogs and invoke Google’s duplicate content penalty. All blog software has editing tools. I would not use Ping.fm at all to post to any blog! Who would? Would you?
I didn’t delve into the API because I’m not that interested. I find the theory of a centralized wrapper/adapter that updates a lot of social networks intriguing. But at the moment it doesn’t do what I would want, for example, to update my avatar in multiple services so they are all the same. Plus some of the services I would want (.e.g blogcatalog) are not yet supported.
If you see something about ping.fm that I am missing, please comment. I’d like to discuss.