Often it’s the (seemingly) simple applications that turn out to be the most powerful, and the most popular. Twitter is a great example of this.
Ping.fm, a service that allows you to easily update a host of social networking and social media profiles all at once, seeks to resolve the headache of needing to log into multiple accounts to send the same message to different groups of friends and contacts all over the Internet.
While for some Ping.fm may just be a nice little time-saving utility, for social media and online marketing professionals, this service may well be a killer app.
Ping.fm currently supports more than 30 services, including microblogging platforms such as Twitter, Plurk and Jaiku, social networking web sites such as Facebook and Multiply, instant messaging applications such as GTalk Status and AIM Status, and most of the popular blogging platforms. Once you’ve set up a Ping.fm account and added your credentials for the services you use for social networking and social media purposes, you’re ready to return to your Ping.fm dashboard to send messages out to all of your profiles at once.
Adding your various social networks can be a little clunky simply because you need to have all of your various usernames, passwords and network keys at your disposal, but Ping.fm does a pretty good job of making the process as seamless as possible.
On the dashboard page, you can send out messages, or “pings,” to your selected services. The default setting sends your message to all of your services, but you can also filter profiles by “micro-blogs” or “statuses.” This is a nice feature, giving you the ability to parse your messages into groups, but I must admit that I don’t entirely understand which services fall into which categories (is FriendFeed a “micro-blog” or a “status”, for instance?). A character counter also lets you know the size of your ping, which is vitally important for squeezing your message in under Twitter’s 140-characters-per-tweet limit, for example. And a “Record Video” link allows you to stream a video recording directly through Ping.fm.
A nice feature is the ability to send out messages through Ping.fm “from” multiple locations. A huge array of “Services/Tools” on the dashboard allow you to set up your Ping.fm account so that you can ping via email, SMS, instant message, Facebook app, iPhone app, desktop app, and so on. This serves up enormous flexibility in allowing you to send a single message from anywhere and distribute your message to a large number of profile destinations quickly and easily.
The potential downsides to using Ping.fm are overlap and not engaging with individual social media and social networking communities as they are intended. Overlap comes in the form of having many of the same friends, colleagues and contacts on multiple services; sending them the same message “over and over again” on multiple profiles might only serve to annoy. Additionally, social media and social networking sites are meant to be two-way communications platforms, not one-way broadcasting mechanisms. If people perceive you as being someone who is broadcasting marketing messages and not interested in engaging with individual communities or, even worse, spamming communities with marketing messages and links, that can seriously damage your ability to effectively utilize social media for whatever purpose –- developing relationships, promoting a product or service, burnishing your professional reputation, and so on -– you had in the first place.
Overall, Ping.fm looks to be a simple (in a good way), effective, and easy-to-use service to communicate to multiple online communities quickly.
What do you think of Ping.fm?