Ning is a “social networking” platform that integrates a series of features you may already be using separately
Forum, blog, notes, document sharing, photos, videos and music, RSS…
Suitable for individuals, groups, and other organisations
The exchange of information and knowledge is a virtuous circle that can only benefit both you and others.
The loss from being copied is less than the benefit of participating in an open collaborative environment.
This is the web 2.0 philosophy of which Ning is an example.
You can nonetheless make groups and items private, when required.
Registering: who are you?
While public content is visible to all, you must register to use most features
You can register as an individual or organisation
Express your thoughts as an individual
Communicate official information as an organisation
Both can create groups, announce events, etc.
Your user page
The first thing is to create your profile and user page. Select a photo or image to represent you rather than the default one.
You user page lets others know who you are and what you do, so fill in all the profile fields such as your web site and description of your activities.
Your user page layout
By clicking on Aspect you can change the look of your user page by choosing among the available templates or – if you’re more expert – uploading your own background image and personalising the colours.
You can also add text boxes for a variety of purposes.
Like when moving into a new home, the next step is to “furnish” your space. To the left of your user page are options to upload photos, music and video.
When adding files, don’t forget to add tags (keyword labels that help find resources).
With a simple mouse-clik, you can also publish to facebook, myspace, etc. for wide diffusion.
What is RSS?
Also to the left on your user page is an RSS feed: Really Simple Syndication is the best way to automatically distribute web content.
With RSS you receive constant updates from the source of your choice: your local newspaper, association’s website, blog, etc.
Copy the link from the RSS logo on the page of the site you’re interested in, and copy it into the box on your personal page.
Search the network for people you know or who share your interests (see how important your user page is?), and invite them to connect to you.
Then look for groups of interest, join discussions, and subscribe to regular updates.
You can also create your own groups and invite others by importing contact details from your address book.
Your own blog
Each Ning user can set up a blog visible from the user page and the Ning blog space.
Blog entries can be exported to facebook, myspace and other networks with millions of subscribers. The entry appears with your photo and blog address, making you visible to a wide audience.
Read some running discussions in your Ning network to see which are of interest.
You can add comments to individual entries or start your own discussion.
In addition to the general discussions on your Ning network, each group has its own discussion forums.
The events section allows you to publish information about events relevant to your Ning network.
Add a logo or photo and a description.
The final step is to invite others; you can select from the list of Ning network members or from your email account’s address book.
In Ning, every member can create a group based on a common interest, locality or project.
Each group has its own discussion forum and an RSS box to link to a relevant journal or blog.
The group description box can also contain links images, and software code.
Ning Apps are functional add-ons whose availability is constantly increasing in number.
Apps are available for everything from gifts for friends to an electronic marketplace.
You can add your own Apps to your user page.
This network is built on Ning: a freely available (with advertisements) platform
Ning allows each user to create and customize their web presence
It also allows for different forms of group interaction and collaborative work
The modular structure allows for interoperability with other applications