Published On: June 30, 2008
Online social networks are all the rage these days. To be honest, I’m a little older than the average MySpace, Facebook or Friendster member and spend more time thinking about keeping my girls safe on—or preferably off, for as long as possible—these social networks than actually browsing them. A few hundred million people are registered users on these top three networking sites. However, if you want to create your own custom social network, then Ning is the place for you.
Ning was developed to allow users to create customizable networks around their own specific interests. With few technical skills, users can control the design and features on their Ning. However, if a user is brave enough to request the code for their social network—or hire someone to create new features—the possibilities for Ning are pretty incredible.
At JLB we’ve worked on two Ning sites recently, creating social networks for local non-profit organizations. It is interesting to see “behind the scenes” of a site of this caliber while trying to decipher the code to tailor a Ning to a client’s specifications. We created unique designs for the social networks, added a PayPal feature and altered the group structure to allow flexibility for members.
It seems that more individuals and companies are becoming interested in Ning because of its customizable capabilities. In the last year, 25,000 new applications have been created for Ning and visitors to the site have increased ten-fold. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to create more social networks and learn more about Ning. I’m interested to see how Ning continues to stack next up to MySpace, Facebook and Friendster as social networking continues to grow and evolve on the internet.