There is one thing that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Ping has that both Facebook and Twitter lack...an established precedent of e-commerce. If you sing in a band would you rather have followers on Twitter or on iTunes? Obviously you want them on iTunes because that ‘buy now’ button is ever present. If you host a television show do you want followers on Twitter or on iTunes? That $.99 TV show is only one click away. Facebook and Twitter are both great in their own way but the whole making money part of it has yet to be figured out.
The appealing thing about Ping is that the platform is built around media, it isn’t built around you. Many people are uncomfortable giving up too much personal information to Facebook and yet they still have a desire to interact on the Internet. Ping gives them that opportunity without having to give up privacy. Apple might be on to something big with Ping.
On a personal note, one of my favorite websites to view on the iPad is my brother in law’s music review here. I enjoy it so much because it brings the Internet to life with videos, commentary and music. Since the iPad launch, there aren't enough publications that have truly taken advantage of the multi-media capability. We're still reading the same old text of the same old newspapers and magazines. Perhaps Ping will introduce a new explosive paradigm to social networking other than text based personal updates, web links, and family home videos. Interacting with one’s entertainment, among friends and followers, could become a profitable business model for media artists as well as Apple.
The success of Facebook and Twitter demonstrates the insatiable appetite today's Internet savvy users have for social networking. With this backdrop, Ping joins iAd as a potential surprise Apple hit coming soon. Wouldn't it be something if Apple was the company that figured out how to monetize the iSocial Scene.
Disclosure: Long AAPL