Social networking is big. So big that everyone’s jumping in. Or trying to. But Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn just don’t fit with every organization’s means, methods, and mission. In fact, for many the fit is downright awful. While every organization is composed of people, most aren’t about sharing highly personal information, playing games (and pranks), and testing ego boundaries. That’s where Ning comes in.
Ning at www.ning.com is a lot like a Facebook community you build from scratch to suit your business or group. Highly customizable in appearance, function and applications, it can include forums, groups, chat, polls, photos, blogs, games, sales and marketing tools, productivity suites (Google Docs, Zoho) and widgets and gadgets galore. Members have their own, customizable pages. Wow!
Before I get to the rave, I’ve got to tell you this. The basic, ad-supported version (unobtrusive right column tower ad) is free. Premium versions using your own domain name, without ads, with more space and bandwidth are available at modest cost. The price is definitely right.
But the two things that make me love Ning are (a) the ease of customizing from appearance to layout to adding and configuring features to privacy, and (b) the speed. Ning beats every other social networking community hands down for speed of loading and updating. This is a community for the impatient man (and woman).
I just set up a social networking community, Bryant Gardens Network, for the cooperative where I live, literally in less than an hour. Anyone who can use a word processor, email and a browser can be a Ning network administrator.
It’s so much fun, you’ll probably wind up building more than one!