Talking Tech Friday – Ning!

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming. This week, our second review by request is for Ning.

What is it?

Ning is social networking site, like MySpace or Facebook. However, what sets Ning apart is that it allows you to create your own social network, is extremely customizable, and offers a lot of features that you don’t find in other networks. From their about page:

  • Customizable profile pages.
  • Photo slideshows, video players, music players, and network badges, that can be embeded anywhere on the Internet, seamlessly funneling new people to your network.
  • Members can set different privacy settings for every photo, video, group, or blog post they contribute.
  • RSS feeds of your network’s features, such as members, discussions, photos, videos, music/podcasts, and blog posts.
  • Add your own logo, branding, and visual design to make your network unique.
  • Choose from a variety of themes and customize them to make them your own.
  • Make your network public or private.
  • Pull in a RSS feed to your network from an external source of news, information, or content.
  • Copy and paste in widgets from around the web or from other parts of your network.

How does it work?

I’ve never used Ning, so I’ve started by creating a profile, with the ubiquitous email/password combination. After that, I can start up my own social network (or, presumably, join one that’s already made). I’ll make one for Tech Talk.

After filling in a few details – much like setting up a blog, I can then design the layout and add features to my network. Next, I can pick a theme and customize how it looks. Just for fun, I’ve tried to make it match our blog (you can also use your own CSS if you want, but I’m not going to do this).

Oo, the next feature, which I like, is being able to decide which profile questions you want your members to answer when they sign up for your network, and whether or not those questions are required. Since I’m making a Tech Talk network, I’m not going to ask for a lot of questions (though it doesn’t seem to let me delete the “Relationship Status” question, so don’t think I’m setting up a dating service here!).

That’s it, now I’ve created the Tech Talk Social Network – in less than 20 minutes!

Of course, you’re all invited. If you join with this link, you will automatically join the Tech Talk Social network. Feel free to create a quick profile and play around!

On your personal pages, you can customize even further with appearances (check mine out), adding photos, music, blogs, etc. In the Privacy settings, you can choose how often, or not at all, to receive emails about updates.

Possible Library Uses

Well, I think I’ve just demonstrated one – I’ve created an entirely usable social network for this group. If we like it, we might just continue to use it! I know that there are other library networks on Ning as well (see below).

Additionally, for parents or others that are concerned about safety on MySpace and other social networks, this is an opportunity to create safer, more private environment. There’s nothing stopping me from making a network just for my friends – and if I had children, a network just for THEIR friends.

The Library Instruction Wiki also suggests using Ning for a class webpage, and I can certainly see how that would be useful.

My question is, can I join more than one network with a single profile? (Answer will be forthcoming, I hope).

Links

Library 2.0 Network

Library Youth & Teen Services 2.0 Network

LIS Students Network

ALA Network

Tech Cruch Review

TechnologyReview

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~ by Anali on February 1, 2008.

One Response to “Talking Tech Friday – Ning!”

  1. […] comments about “About” pages, I’ve added links to our Ning network (see the Talking Tech Friday column about Ning), and created a Facebook group. Come join! Possibly related posts: […]

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