“Ping” as Computer Science lingo

Main Piece

Interviewer: What does ping mean?

Informant: To check nn on someone, or following up with someone. If I were waiting for someone to send me a new version of their code, I would say “I am going to ping them” which basically means the same thing as “I am going to follow up with them.” 

Interviewer:Where did you learn it?

Informant:I learned it from the coding community, very much so. 

Interviewer: Do you use it frequently?

Informant: Uhhh…yeah actually I just used it in an email. I guess I use it so frequently I forgot that I use it in the first place if that makes any sense, haha.


The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 


One day while we were at home my informant used the word “ping” in front of me and I had no idea what he meant. During the interview I asked for more context on this word and when it would be used and where he learned it from. 


I think that much of the folk speech used between computer scientists is heavily dependent on the different technology that they use. Always focusing on efficiency and collaboration with larger coding projects, students and computer scientists alike use words and folk speech in order to communicate with more ease and to form a sense of community within the coding community.