Perhaps both the greatest blessing and the greatest curse of social media is its ability to keep people informed. While there's plenty to be said for having the latest information about friends, family, loved ones and those we respect most, the point at which there's simply too much data to keep track of can be all too easily reached.
For Oslo, Norway's Ping.it, a recently-developed technology wants to help manage the feeds and keep things moving more smoothly. Under Ping.it's concept, the idea of sharing things to a public stream gets replaced with sending "pings" instead, where "pings" are the name for recommendations of specific content that go to a predefined e-mail address based on the Web. That brings back a bit of old technology in a new way, essentially turning the public stream into a series of short e-mails. Since it also requires users to add recipients to their pings, it cuts down on the total number of users who get the content and increases the chances that only the right people get it, improving the chances of interaction with the pings.
In fact, reports suggest that 87.5 percent of all pings get some form of interaction as a result, which is vastly less than Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter can claim. Users don't even need to sign up with Ping.it to receive pings, as the pings are routed to e-mail addresses. Given that a recent University of California study suggested that as much as 12 hours a day can be spent on news consumption by the average online user, encompassing over 100,000 words in text, it's clear that something needed to be done to trim the amount of content slamming into viewers on a regular basis.
Founder Marius Lian explained, "Ping.it solves two of the biggest problems online today: bloated inboxes and crowded public walls. And the solution is simple – a Web inbox without an address, where you receive personally recommended links. In Ping.it, you only get the content you want, from people you accept, as you only share with your contacts what’s relevant to them. That is the key difference."
Not only does Ping.it serve as a way to narrow down the amount of information received in the course of social media, it also serves to cut down on the influence of spammers, which has long been a problem as marketers of varying levels of scruples try to get access to large bodies of potential customers in a bid to get them to buy products.
Those interested in Ping.it can get in on an invitation basis right now by simply going out to the company--which is also their domain name--and signing up accordingly. Only time will tell if Ping.it catches on with any kind of speed, but it's quite clear that any attempt to smooth out the growing volume of content coming in from social media sources is going to be high on a lot of users' lists going forward.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli