With ‘social networking’ being a keyword in everyone’s vocabulary these days, starting a Facebook Group or MySpace page is often a first step in reaching out through the online community. Of course, the popularity and success of Facebook and MySpace haven’t gone unnoticed by other online ventures trying to meet the increasing demand and needs of social networking, and have led to a number of spin-offs with their own approaches. One site that has recently been in the spotlight is Ning, a social community site that allows users to join and also create their own social networks. In most aspects Ning functions similarly to Facebook groups – free and easy to set up, a quick way to reach out to people online. However, there are a few added elements that make it unique.
Some of the cool features of Ning:
- Each social network created has a simple url, in the form of www.networkname.ning.com – this makes it easy to remember and link to from emails and other sites.
- Visitors can create usernames unique to each social network. Rather than having to join the massive and exposed network of facebook in order to view groups, you can join a small network focusing on your specialized interest (i.e. hobbies, place of employment, charity group, etc).
- Network organizers can customize the appearance of the web pages, using templates, adding graphics, and organizing widgets.
- Organizers can post events, general announcements, and control viewability and membership.
- Registered users can post comments, forum topics, videos, music, photos, and links.
The applications for Ning are endless – great for educators, activity clubs, neighborhood associations, local retail, entertainment venues, fan clubs, and so forth.
Check it out!