Building your business with cross-culture business training. Over 3,500 professionals from India and the U.S. have worked with us since 2011.

February 17, 2019

Meaning of "Ping" or "Ping Me"

It's common to hear someone say "ping me when you're free." Have you wondered what "ping" means and where it originates from? 

The meaning of ping:
To send a quick, short message over a texting platform (SMS, Instant Messenger, Chat) used to check in, keep someone in the loop about something, or ask about something, with the expectation of a quick, short response from the receiving party.

Let's look more into the origin, use in daily conversation, examples and translations of this modern day slang. 

Where does PING come from?
PING was not originally a word, but an acronym or abbreviation. PING, written in all caps, stands for Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper. As an IT or tech 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?" 
Check out our Email and
Business Writing Skills Program

According to Your Dictionary,  "The ping command is particularly helpful in verifying whether a host is working and whether a system is attached to the Internet."

Examples of Pings (send through text messages):
Wife to husband, "Pick up some milk on the way home."
Child to parent, "I'm all done. Can you come pick me up?" 
Business partner to business partner, "Is it ready? We are down to the wire."
Colleague to colleague, "Wanna meet for lunch today at 12?" 
Husband to wife, "I'm on my way."  
Friend to friend, "How did it go?"  

Of course here, I have given examples of pings in complete sentences, but most of the time people may use texting language, abbreviations, or slang in ping messages to make them even shorter. Also, since the messages are so short, much of the context will only be known between the two parties.

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 IM me 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 WhatsApp 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 provides customized individualized business and career coaching for tech workers. 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 (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.