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August 4, 2015

What does "Ping Me" mean?

Recently, when I asked a colleague to ping me, he responded with, "What does ping mean? How do I ping you?"

In that moment, I responded with, "It means to get in touch with me and find out if I am free."

After that discussion, I wondered more about this word, it's meaning and it's origin. Ping is technical word that has made or is trying to make a cross over into the mainstream population. As an IT industry specific jargon, "ping" is a technical term that means to check on the status of another computer or another server to see if it's online (a sort of acknowledgment). It's an electronic message that loosely translates to, "Are you there?"

Translations of Questions Using "Ping"
  • "Can I ping you at 8?" - "Can I send you a text message or make a quick call to see if you are free at 8?"
  • "Can you ping me when you are ready?" - "Can you send me an SMS or call me when you are ready?"

Translations of Statements Using "Ping"
  • "I'll ping you when the meeting is over." - "I'll get in touch with you when the meeting finishes."
  • "Ping me with the status." - "Send me a short message by email, SMS or Instant Messenger with updates."

How do I Ping Someone?
Pinging is done through a quick communication, usually by electronic means, but sometimes over the phone. It depends on the other person's preference. So pings can be done over:
  • The cell or mobile phone (SMS, text)
  • E-mail
  • Instant Messaging (Internal company system, Google, Skype, Facebook, etc.)
How do I know which one to use?
If you don't know the person well, say it's your client or colleague onsite, it's better to ask, "How do you prefer me to ping you?" Don't assume because for instance, text messaging in the US is charged in most cases regardless of sending or receiving, but maybe receiving the message on What's App or another mobile app or email may be free for that person (as long as they have a data plan).

What is Said in a Ping?
Ping messages are short. Any of the below suffice:
  • I'm ready.
  • Call me.
  • 10 more minutes.
  • Let's meet at 5 instead.
  • Can I call you to reschedule?
  • Let's go for lunch. I'll meet you downstairs in 5. (Meaning 5 minutes.)
Are There Synonyms for Ping?
Of course. The exact synonym depends on the person and their preferred ping method sometimes.
  • "Ping me at 4." synonyms:
  • Get in touch with me at 4.
  • Call me at 4.
  • Send me a text at 4.
  • Facebook me at 4
  • Give me a shout out at 4. ("Shout out is another slang. Don't actually shout!)
Have you heard any other uses of the word 'ping'? Do you have other ideas for synonyms of 'ping'? Feel free to ping me your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jennifer Kumar works with co-located and distributed teams to improve communication, workflow and productivity. Contact us for more information. 

Related Posts: 
Instant Messaging (IM) Etiquette at Work 
Why isn't my American colleague answering the phone? 
How to decline a meeting invite?
How to send acknowledgement emails 

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.