Social Media

Social Networking with Ning

Social networking is the internet boom these days. Sites like MySpace and Facebook boast millions of users, all posting information about themselves and connecting with others. Other sites try to draw users in specific niches, like writers and photographers. Social networking sites keep springing up, trying to take advantage of the boom – yet anyone who saw the dot-com bubble burst in 2000-2001 knows that only a few are likely to survive profitably.

To survive, a social networking site needs to offer something unique that MySpace and Facebook don’t already have.

Ning entered the social networking scene in October 2005, and seems to be surviving well thus far. What’s Ning’s difference? Ning allows users and companies to create their own social networks, rather than signing them up for one big one.

Ning was founded by Marc Andreessen (also a founder of Netscape) and Gina Bianchini, and is headquartered in Palo Alto. According to its website, Ning powers over 76,000 social networks. Would you like to know How to See Private Instagram Profiles? The information will be provided through the experts without any problem. The creation of the private profiles will be done then the information will be correct and accurate. The power of the social network sites will be effective with the availability of the tips, 

Ning offers both free and premium network services. A free network gives users a network address in the format of http://networkname.ning.com, where they can invite members, set up groups, and hold forum discussions. Each network member is given a member home page, which he or she can personalize with text boxes, music players, and other widgets. Members can also post photos, videos, and blog entries. The discussion forum offers threaded commenting, and the ability to place discussions into various network-defined categories.

Network creators can customize the group’s home page, which can include text boxes, recent forum posts and blog entries, member photos and videos, and more. Network creators also set up the categories and settings for the discussion forum, and create groups for network members to participate in.

Premium features are available for a monthly fee. For $5 per month, a company, group or individual can put its network under its own domain name (e.g., www.kathleenmcdade.com rather than kathleenmcdade.ning.com. Networks can also purchase additional storage space and bandwidth, and for $20 per month can opt for an ad-free network, or contract for their own ads and keep the revenues. The free networks, naturally, are advertising-supported, although the advertising (in the form of Google AdSense) is not bothersome at all.

Network creators can also access the network’s source code, making networks fully customizable by developers.

Users on Ning have created networks around a wide variety of topics and interests, such as writing, weight loss, wakeboarding, cycling, religion, politics, and television. A Ning Network Creators Forum allows network creators and managers to ask questions and learn more about how to use Ning features more effectively. Bands, businesses, and nonprofits also use Ning networks for promotional purposes. Networks can be public or private, so Ning is ideal for a family-only network, too.3

Ning manages its service well, with a strong staff presence on the Ning Network Creators Forum, and quick and effective responses to help requests. It’s still a developing service, too, so Ning keeps adding and changing features to provide better services for its users. For instance, Ning recently added the Groups capability to its networks, and is now providing its own music player, which can be easily added to member pages.

Can Ning overtake MySpace and Facebook? It doesn’t seem likely at this point. Ning does, however, have a valuable and unique service to offer, and is doing it successfully.