Monday, March 05, 2007

Ning: just what I was looking for?!

Via my husband and Checklist, a Dutch blog, I found Ning. Though I don't even try to keep up with all the new tools that are thrown on the internet, but I must say this looks just like the kind of tool I was waiting for. It gives you the opportunity to build an online platform in a super-user-friendly and easy way! You can choose to add or leave out features like video, blogs, etc. and you can choose whether you want a public or private platform. Erwin Blom created a Dutch one if you want to have a look. If you want a 12 minutes instruction you can watch this video:

Considering my recent experience with customizing a microsoft sharepoint environment for an online workshop (which needs technical expertise etc.) Ning sounds like an amazing innovation. With sharepoint, after all efforts, you get very un-userfriendly features; there is no email alert with content, there is no way to see a whole thread at once without clicking about 10 times, etc... A disadvantage of Ning could be the advertisements, but if you pay some money, it will be removed.

The funny thing is that they call it a social network (build your own social network). Whereas I would call it build an online interface FOR your social network. I may be old fashioned because I see the first useful application of Ning for existing groups. With the public version, you can choose to build a ning around a certain topic that may attract new people, so in that sense it might be a tool to build a social network too. (still can't believe that works well with starting with an existing social group or network)


josien kapma said...

Hi Joitske, I agree it is interesting. I also agree it is mostly suitable for existing groups, but then: aren't all platforms? I like the way it looks, I like the fact it is hosted, free and seemingly simple & accessible, but what is the difference with others, like Bryght, or aroundme ? who lists other examples? who is in a position to compare?

Joitske said...

Hi Josien, thanks for giving the other examples. I will check them out. From my observations, there are just so many tools around that people just start with the ones they stumble upon.

And I hadn't seen a tool that is so easy to manage and customize (I will still test it though). Compare it to hosting a platform on webcrossings and the difference is huge!!

oscar said...

there are loads of other examples, for the last weeks I did some research on platforms for making your own social networks. interested? drop me a line...

meanwhile check , (a Red Hat initiative), (avail in open source as well, these guys used to work together with the goingOn team). But... after Ning released their new version last week, I'm a huge fan of the ning platform!

hoong said...

I am not a great fan for social-networking software. I am cautious of the way they get a group of people who share the same interests together, and the end result almost always is creating another 'silo'. That seems to work against the principles of 'social-networking'.

I remembered a book written by a famous (I forgot the name of the author) Danish environmental and housing architect. There he wrote about how township or housing project should be built with the 'concepts' and 'focus' on how human traffic (he meant walking not driving) should be encouraged. Spaces should be created to let people 'meet' on a daily and casual manner. The objective, if I remembered correctly, is to encourage sharing interests. AND not isolate interests.

KM has puzzled me right from the start. It puzzled me because the intention (intended or unintended) seems to build 'seperate' interest groups, but rarely do I see the interest of 'grouping' interests or allowing different interest to flow.

And the same seems to copy and encourage everywhere. We seems to think the youth should have their own spaces, the over 55 might be too old to find any interests the 30 somethings is busy with ....

About 2 years ago, a close friend of mine is involved with a project in Brazil (I hope I get the country right). The focus of this project is to bring the homeless kids with the old folks that are left in the old age home. The idea behind it is, both groups of people have different needs, but they can help one another. The kids the love and perhaps home-cook meals, the life experience from the old. The old would benefits from feeling 'wanted' again etc. etc.

Social networking platform, those that I know, do not seems to encourage that. Or perhaps there is one that I do not know.

We have so many 'divides' in this world -- wealth, langauges, sex, sex preferences, north, south, non-profit, profit ... Instead of bringing people closer, we seems to want to keep even more people out that do not looks, feels, thinks, behaves, likes, talks, enjoy ... the samething as we do.

Perhaps I am wrong.