Macworld Masterclass: Getting started with Ping

Taking your first steps with iTunes’ social service

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  • ILLO1 Intro
  • ILLO1 1. Creating your profile
  • ILLO2 2. Choosing the image
  • ILLO3 3. Privacy choices
  • ILLO4 4. Music matters
  • ILLO5 5. Welcome to the machine
  • ILLO6 6. Find more mates
  • ILLO7 7. Find friends elsewhere
  • ILLO8 8. Following the music
  • ILLO9 9. Artist profiles
  • ILLO10 10. Sharing your music
  • ILLO11 11. What's happening?
  • ILLO12 12. All about you
  • ILLO13 13. Give a little love
  • ILLO14 14. Sharing a playlist
  • ILLO15 copy 15. Ping for iPad and iPhone
  • More stories
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Intro

Introduced with a huge fanfare last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that Ping “is for social music discovery”. In essence, that’s all it does: it lets you follow your favourite acts, allows artists to promote their work and enables you to keep an eye on what music your friends are buying.

“You can follow people and you can be followed,” Jobs explained. “Most artists will say: ‘You can follow me’. People are also able to approve who they allow to follow them.”

To use Ping you need iTunes 10. You can also access Ping on your iPad or iPhone using the iTunes app. Critics complain that the service lacks certain key social features, but Ping is easy to understand and after this tutorial you’ll be able to fully explore the service to decide if you like it.

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Next Prev ILLO1

Introduced with a huge fanfare last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that Ping “is for social music discovery”. In essence, that’s all it does: it lets you follow your favourite acts, allows artists to promote their work and enables you to keep an eye on what music your friends are buying.

“You can follow people and you can be followed,” Jobs explained. “Most artists will say: ‘You can follow me’. People are also able to approve who they allow to follow them.”

To use Ping you need iTunes 10. You can also access Ping on your iPad or iPhone using the iTunes app. Critics complain that the service lacks certain key social features, but Ping is easy to understand and after this tutorial you’ll be able to fully explore the service to decide if you like it.

 

Step 2 of 16: 1. Creating your profile

To use Ping you first need to set up an Apple ID and a Ping profile. The Ping profile page gathers personal information including your nickname, gender and location, as well as three music genres and an image. This can be one from your own collection or a snapshot taken using your iSight camera.

 

Step 3 of 16: 2. Choosing the image

The image you use for your Ping identity is very important, as it will now appear next to all the reviews you have previously written using your Apple ID. You can choose the image in the Buddy Picture dialog and it’s easy to apply a range of image effects. Ping will gather and report data about you, including all the music you buy, reviews you write, and items you like using Ping’s Like button.

 

Step 4 of 16: 3. Privacy choices

When you set up Ping you can configure its Privacy Settings. These let you allow anyone to follow you, learning about your likes and dislikes. You can also demand the right to approve those who want to follow you, or even stop others from following you at all, though you still get to follow them.

 

Step 5 of 16: 4. Music matters

If you don’t want to broadcast your music purchases to everyone, Ping also lets you decide how much personal information you are willing to share. This dialog lets you display all the music you like, rate, review or purchase. You can also share data on some or none of these actions on your profile.

 

Step 6 of 16: 5. Welcome to the machine

Once past the setup, you’ll enter the Welcome screen – your name appears in the top-right corner, with shortcuts to various Ping features below it. Search for people and artists, follow artists, and invite friends from Twitter or from your contacts book. Just click an artist’s name to follow them.

 

Step 7 of 16: 6. Find more mates

Find your friends by clicking the Connect to Twitter option. You’ll be asked for your Twitter account and password and a screen will appear showing your Ping-using Twitter contacts. You can deselect all of these using the top-right command, or click on a box beside a contact name to follow them on Ping.

 

Step 8 of 16: 7. Find friends elsewhere

You can find friends using email or through direct integration with your MobileMe, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! address book. Click on the Import Contacts option (or the Invite Friends by Email option) to contact your existing chums. You’ll be asked to supply your webmail address and password.

 

Step 9 of 16: 8. Following the music

Apple wants bands to use Ping to speak to their fans. Finding bands is easy – you can search for them in the Ping search box, look at Apple’s Featured recommendations (above), or find them via the iTunes Store. Ping isn’t perfect – you won’t find key independent artists inside Apple’s social service.

 

Step 10 of 16: 9. Artist profiles

When you find an artist or act that you like, you can visit their Profile pages. These show you other acts that they like, how many followers they have and the most recent news updates they’ve sent out to their fans – although these are usually only updated when a new album is about to be released.

 

Step 11 of 16: 10. Sharing your music

There are lots of ways to share music with your Ping people. In your iTunes library, just click on a track and a Ping/iTunes command will appear beside the track name. Select Post and this box appears, which lets you write something about the track which will be read by your followers.

 

Step 12 of 16: 11. What's happening?

Once you’ve followed some friends and a few artists, you’ll end up with a page that looks like this. Note the shortcuts on the right. The View menu to the left of your name lets you toggle between artists and people, while the Ping charts show you the top songs among people you follow.

 

Step 13 of 16: 12. All about you

Your Profile page shows what you’ve been up to. Access it by selecting the My Profile option in the Ping menu, top right. Here you’ll see some of the music you like, people you’re following, Ping playlists and your recent activity. The Profile page lets you check what your friends can see about you, too.

 

Step 14 of 16: 13. Give a little love

Music is about listening and sharing and singing along. Ping makes it easy to share your musical taste – select Create a New Playlist in the third box down (Ping Playlists) on the right. Enter a playlist description, then select your songs using the Add Songs button in the lower-right of the music box.

 

Step 15 of 16: 14. Sharing a playlist

Once you’ve created a playlist, you can share it with your followers by using the Post button. This means that you and your following Pingsters can play 30-second previews of the songs. When iTunes launches full song-streaming services you’ll be able to share the lot at the click of a button.

 

Step 16 of 16: 15. Ping for iPad and iPhone

Ping is available for all iOS devices. You’ll find it inside the iTunes App on the iPhone or, in this case, the iPad. You can watch the recent activity from people and bands you follow, check your Profile and keep an eye on People. Plus you can Like and Comment on artists, people and posts.

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