What is Ning? Ning Review
Ning – A Platform for Creating Your Own Social Network
Ning describes itself as a platform where users can create their own social network. Say what again? Your own social network? Haven’t people tired enough of Facebook and Twitter? Haven’t they heard about the decline of Myspace and the eventual demise of Friendster? Even Google has decided to kill their social network, Orkut.
While there’s a plethora of social networks out there, there’s no denying that sometimes you wish the interface was up to your standards. Every time Facebook changes their layout, you’ll hear a bunch of complaints. When Twitter makes design changes, you’ll hear complaints.
However, Ning is a different platform because it allows YOU to CREATE your OWN social network – design, theme and everything. You can think of it like a community of people with shared interests and you get to dictate the look and feel of it.
Ning is a Chinese word for peace. It was founded by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini. Development on the platform started on October 2004 and it was officially launched on October 2005. Angel investors also took part in the initial founding of Ning.
Initially a free service, changes were implemented after an announcement was made by CEO Jason Rosenthal on April 15, 2010 about the platform’s move to being a paid service.
Ning’s initial headquarters were are located in downtown Palo Alto, California. When the company was purchased by Glam Media in 2011, headquarters were moved to Brisbane.
- Creation of a centrally themed community and social network
Facebook and Twitter do not cater to just one interest, although users can only follow accounts whose interests they share, there are some features that are just not meant to cater to every interest.
Use Ning to create your own social site the way you want
With Ning, you’re free to make a community based around a certain interest. So if you want a network centered on books, that’s exactly what Ning allows you to do.
The profiles that users will create will fall under the community they join in.
- Integration with other online services
Just like any other social network, sharing among platforms is one of the nice features of Ning. Content from Ning can be shared to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Likewise, posts from these networks can be shared to Ning as well. Other than that, content from YouTube, Vimeo, Myspace and Soundcloud can be shared on Ning too.
Ning lets you integrate with the other social places
- Activity feed
This functions just like a Twitter feed or a Facebook timeline. It contains all the latest activity that your network has been up to. You can find what everybody is talking about, which member commented on what and others.
What’s interesting about the Activity feed is that you can choose how many items you want to display and which area of your network where you will display it.
If you’re the Network Creator, you can delete any activity you find to not be in line with your objectives. The activity feed is also the place where you can post custom messages such as facts or announcements.
- Ning Blog
Members who want to express their own opinion on a subject can use the Blog feature of Ning. You can also create separate blogs with one being the official blog of your community for updates and such while the other blog will be open for members to contribute to.
- Ning Forum
Functions just any internet forum. It’s a place where conversations can be carried about topics in the specific niche that you’re interested in.
- Ning Photos
Encourages members to upload photos to contribute to the community. As the administrator, you can control what gets through or not.
- Ning Groups
Similar to Groups and Communities where users can create a group that caters to their specific interest. Maybe a group under a social network on books can be focused more on the classics while another will have a focus on mysteries and thrillers.
As you can see, Ning allows you to create a dedicated community with a certain shared interest. Just keep in mind that the platform is no longer free, but if you’re willing to spare the expense for establishing a themed community, then Ning is waiting for you.
Ning is not free but is reasonably priced
The future of Ning
Alexa shows a significant downward trend for Ning from the fall of 2013 until now. We are not sure about the cause of this drop but think that it could be a result of pressure from competitors who offer somewhat similar platforms but free of charge. Oxwall is one such animal and we have done custom builds on this platform for clients. It is more or less a Facebook clone and is open source and free.
While Oxwall is free it requires much more technical knowledge and expense to setup and run as compared to Ning. It does offer many of the same features like live chat, streaming wall, likes, photos, videos, groups, forums, blogs and more but enough about Oxwall until we do an article on it…
Alexa shows Ning in steady decline since last fall
We are not exactly sure what the future will hold for Ning but we will be watching their traffic statistics to see what develops. Maybe a good marketing push can turn things around and then again maybe the decline will continue or possibly level off. We shall see. Either way, Ning does offer an attraction to a certain niche and for that reason we wanted to do this article and possibly make more people aware of this social media option.