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5 Traits That Ping Might Reveal About Your Friends

(That You Didn’t Want To Know)

image from www.cbsnews.com With Apple’s big announcement last week that iTunes will now be integrated with a social network -- based around music discovery -- called Ping, its worth reflecting on why, as cool as it sounds, that it may not be the best thing that ever happened to your life.

To review, Ping is like Twitter for music but with a Facebook-style newsfeed. Basically, you can follow and be followed by your friends and Ping will record the latest activity in your buying and listening habits, as well as, what events your attending and the artists that you have decided to follow, comment on, and do status updates about.

Music is a large part of the human experience and psychologists have been saying for years that our taste in music reveals quite a bit about who we are and how we want the world to perceive us. Much more than we would often think we are disclosing when we do something as simple as listing our favorite bands on Facebook or MySpace.

On that note, here’s a quick look at five traits and things that Ping could reveal about friends or yourself—that everyone may wish that they hadn’t made public.

  1. Awful Taste In Music: Let’s be honest here. Maybe when it comes to looks you’re not that shallow, but if your girlfriend-to-be starts going on a Backstreet Boy or Spice Girls downloading spree. You might just consider running for your life and never talk to them again. Her looks, if you’re a Wall Street trader, those can be adjusted. But you’re stuck with her affinity for Justin Timberlake for the rest of your life. Imagine, the respect you have for your friends now verses the kind of respect that you won’t have for them ever again once you encounter their week-long, cringe-worthy listening marathon through Top 40’s finest. As the songs parade through your Ping newsfeed like a angry moms looking for Zhu Zhu Pets in Target, suddenly you find yourself rampantly deleting the friends in question or blocking the girlfriend of your dreams—forever.

  2. Break-Up Music Blues: It’s a fact of life, one day a friend of yours, or more likely: yourself,  is going to get broken up with and you’re going to have to help pick up the shattered pieces of their heart and listen on and on about how they lost “the one.”  After awhile though, you would much rather strangle them to death than hear another word about this self-inflicted tragedy. Couple weeks go by and you have been missing their calls, keeping yourself busy, and suddenly you miss your bloody-murder-screaming, I-hate-her-more-than-I’ve-hated-another-human-being friend; so you reach out and meet up. To your surprise, they claim to be happier than they’ve ever been and that things have never been better. Crazy how much three months can blunt the blow of a personal crisis. Later that night, you log onto Ping and see what music they have been listening to and it looks like they’re on suicide watch. Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”, Eminem “Superman”, and Metallica “One” are the only songs they have been listening to—for the last fifteen days. They lied.

  3. Songs Speak Louder Than Words: In your early-twenties especially, friends are getting hitched left and right, and  bachelorette parties happen. But maybe, just maybe girls, your husband or mom don’t want to see your 2am Facebook drunk updates in sequence with your 4am purchase of “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry. We get that you liked it, but they didn’t need to know. Another version of this might be that really nice, but slightly misunderstood guy from school or work that you just made friends with, who ‘Pinged’ you and has had Rage Against The Machine’s cover of “How I Could Just Kill A Man” and Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” on blast for the last week. Day or two later, you notice that they’ve listed a number of their things—meaning all of them—for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Awesome. Either way, you’re going to be really, really nice to them or you’re just going to call in sick and let things work themselves out naturally.

  4. The Guilty Pleasure: Back in the day, you could go to the record store half-way across town, where no one was likely to run into you or spot you as a regular and indulge your music sweet tooth. Whether that was German Techno for the Death Metal Head or some Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places” for the Hip-hop aficionado, your secret was safe with the stone-cold stoned clerk who smirked as you walked out the front. HardcoreInsaneClownPosseFan69 is going to have a hard time explaining to his fellow “Juggalos” and “Juggalettes” why thirty-five minutes ago he purchased Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster in one fell swoop. Likewise, the next time that Nickelback is in town maybe you shouldn't instantly mark your attendance and comment OMG! OMG! on the event wall; your punk friends will disown you and go back to their Bad Religion listening selves before you can explain your moment of weakness.

  5. The Copycat and The Snob: Everyone has that friend that likes everything that you like and wears the exact same band shirts and listens to the same songs that you've been pumping on your social networks. Okay, maybe they're not your friend anymore once you went to court and got a restraining order on them. But, not all of those friends can be dealt with in the same way that America deals with bad marriages. You thought it was crossing the line when they copied your favorite tie at work and bought the exact same shoes as you. Wait till they follow you on Ping and buy every single song that you buy. Creeper. Worse yet, there's the never helpful and always nose-in-the-air-at-your-latest-favorite-band music snob. Ping will be an opportunity to see their fickleness in action. If two of your friends start listening to their newest obscure man-crush, you better believe they will consider that band to have gone mainstream and ditch them in an instant. Never one to be loyal, the music snob embraces ambiguous music and then trashes it the next day.


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