July 22, 2009

Ning: Create your own social network!

Orkut, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin Twitter and many more of them out there. In fact, it is raining 'social community networks' these days. I have counted on Wikipedia and there are at least 154 online social community networks listed, the last time I counted. Every other day I receive a mail or two from friends, inviting me to join a new community. The sociological implications of having too many social community networks online is one thing to discuss. But I don't think I will go into that as i am here to tell you about another phenomenon I recently noticed online. It is nothing but Ning.

Ning? I am sure it has got nothing to do with Bing and the Bing is not Google thing! And of course for Bing to be Google, Microsoft has to reincarnate as something more divine. Oh! God. I am here to tell you about Ning and not Bing.

Ning? They call it a platform to create online social communities. Let us hear what they say about themselves:

Ning lets you create and join new social networks for your interests and passions.

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Ning offers an innovative and easy-to-use technology platform for people to join and create new social networks for their interests and passions and meet new people around the things they care about most in their life.
With over 1 million social networks created and more than 27 million registered members, millions of people everyday are coming together across Ning Networks to explore and express their interests, discover new passions, and meet new people around shared pursuits.
Ning also enables artists, brands and organizations to simplify and control their online presence with their own unique social network that beautifully integrates with other social media services while providing the most direct, unique and lucrative relationship with fans, consumers, and members.
Founded in October 2004 by Gina Bianchini and Marc Andreessen, Ning launched the Ning Platform in October 2005 and Ning social networks in February 2007. The company is privately held.
 That is a good thing, isn't it? To have a social community of your own! I am sure you know how to create groups on Orkut and Myspace. I know it is exciting to promote a group and to see it grow. However, I am sure you will feel more excited to create a social community of your own and see it grow. That's the option Ning gives you. Just like you can have a blog of your own, Ning lets you have a social community of your own. Like you do on Blogger, you can even have a .com address of your own for your Ning Social Community.

I am a member of Ning and I have created a few communities to see how it works. One thing I liked is the flexibility that Ning offers. The user interface of Ning looks like it is a site you can't trust. But within that look lies possibilities of moving the UI around the way you like. You can even code the look, if you are good at coding.

People say that Ning is vulnerable to spammers. I don't understand how as I am not attacked from any of the communities I own or any of the community in which I am a member. The people who run the Ning Sites I joined are always alert about spammers and only once or twice I received spam messages on my comment wall. The moment the site admin noticed that there is spam going around, he deleted the profile from which it was sent. And for me and to the sites I created, i give access to only those I know and they are a few.

I know a lot of people who use the Ning Service quiet fruitfully. I hope more people would. This 'community of community' is a giant leap for IT after Blogging.

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