Create Your Own Social Network with Ning

Social Network

Social networking is very popular today and many digital natives have joined large social sites like MySpace and Facebook. Thanks to the recent explosion of Web 2.0 development, it is now possible to create your own social network around specific interests even though you have limited technical knowledge and skills. Ning is one of the free online services where you can create, customize, and share your own Social Network. The best part of Ning is that anyone can create their own fully functional and customized social network for a particular topic or need, catering to specific audiences.

Once you sign up a Ning account, you can create your own social network by choosing one of customizable themes and templates from Ning. Then, you decide whether it is for public or private and customize how it looks and add your own network logo. Also, you can customize your site by selecting a combination of features (music, videos, blogs, photos, forums, groups, RSS, etc.) from a list of options. Members who join your network will automatically have a customizable profile page and will be able to message and friend each other.

For the past few months, I have joined several Ning networks such as Classroom 2.0 and Online Teaching. Also, I have created two Ning networks – one is created for my family and another one is designed for my graduate class for instructional purpose. My family network on Ning is doing great and the young members love it by frequently exchanging photos, videos, slideshows, and comments. I will officially launch my graduate class network on Ning in two weeks and cannot wait to see my students’ responses. So far, I am very impressed with Ning. I think it is a terrific Web 2.0 application that allows anyone to create social networks. Ning has excellent functionality and user-friendly interface that allows even the most novice of Web users to create their own highly customized social network in minutes.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Open Social, Web 2.0. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Create Your Own Social Network with Ning

  1. randulo says:

    Ning is excellent, we use it for several networks.

    You can also listen to a very recent discussion about Ning with Gina, Talkshoe CEO Dave Nelsen and social media guy Chris Brogan here: http://randulo.com/tw

  2. James M. Thompson says:

    Although I have been pursuing my doctorate degree in educational administration for the past four years, this is my first semester as a graduate student enrolled in an instructional technology course. Within my first week of class, I have been introduced to Ning, which is a brand new experience for me! I have never been on MySpace or Facebook, but I have heard so many things about the aforementioned websites, such as: young people are obsessed with them and cannot live without them; too many strange people camp out on those websites to prey on young, innocent victims; and they are just for school age children. Due to my limited knowledge of MySpace and Facebook, I totally avoid using them at all. I initially thought that if I wanted to stay in contact with individuals over the Internet, I could just simply use traditional e-mail. I was not aware of the many other features that these websites offer to their customers. Now as a newly Ning subscriber, I am fascinated to see what the enormous excitement is all about. I believe that it is so much more useful that e-mail because it presents opportunities for me to remain in contact with several near and dear individuals without necessarily sending an e-mail. For instance, I can post pictures of my last vacation for everyone to see or even a short video from last year’s family reunion. Individuals within my network can upload their favorite music to share with others. This mode of communication presents opportunities for individuals to share an intimate side of them that they may not usually share face-to-face. I believe after learning how to navigate through Ning, I will create a network for my family and friends.

  3. Christopher Tisdale says:

    This type of technology is very new to me. I never thought about a social network until I enrolled in IT780. I really did not understand why students talked about Myspace and Facebook all the time, but from exploring those websites, I see that most of my students have developed a network of friends that either attend their school or share some of the same interests. I decided to create a profile on Myspace, and I found myself talking with some of my old high school friends. People e-mailed me about my interests. For example, I am a fan of Mariah Carey; I received several e-mails wanting to know when her new album is coming out and what I think about her new single. I really enjoyed talking with people from all parts of the world that share some of my interests. I noticed that I spent several hours just chatting and responding to people’s responses. Social networking can be a great benefit when surveying people on certain topics. I am planning on adding a survey to my Myspace page on teachers’ attitudes toward an extended school year. I just want to see what responses I will receive on the issue, and this can also help me with my 25 page research paper. This technology can be very useful if used in the correct way, but can dangerous if used inappropriately.

    This technology can be a great benefit in the education world if used appropriately. I can see students sharing ideas and opinions, and conducting research through a social network. Using a social network can give students the power of exploring different cultures around the world using social networks, photos, and videos. I am very excited to use another network like Ning to create another social network. I want to start a network on different types of diet plans, and which diets give the best results.

  4. Ning is very good. I’m one who used this Ning. bravo

  5. Andrea Howard says:

    Social networks are awesome! I have been a member of several social networks for the past two years and I think they are great. Yes, they can certainly be abused by users, but the purpose of the networks outweigh the cons of becoming a member of them. Over the past two years and as a result of being a member of various social networks, I have become reacquainted with many of my old friends from my grade school years. I have even reunited with my former middle school best friend with whom I befriended in the 7th grade (18 years ago) while living abroad in Germany.

    One really great aspect of these online social networks is that once you become a member, your profile remains with the site indefinitely (for the most part). This is great because over the years, an old friend may finally locate you and be able to unite with you with very little effort. The only thing required on your part is that you keep your profile updated. I think they are wonderful communication resources and will continue to use them in the future as I am relocating to Army post to Army posts with my husband to help me keep in touch with long time and some lost friends.

    In the future, I would also like to create a social network for my family to use to just simply communicate with one another by sharing life’s experiences.

  6. guoqiangcui says:

    I love the new social network, Ning. Before I got to know the network, I thought the original blog would be one very nice place to communicate and exchange ideas. But when our professor introduced this new network to us, I did find that it is one excellent place to communicate, and it is also quite suitable in the teaching and learning process. I think the first good feature came to my mind is that this network is one closed group. By that I mean that only the members can log in and communicate. In this way, the members can exchange their ideas and communicate with each other freely without the disturbance from outside world. The other thing I like it so much is that it offers us really clear and friendly interface. I have visited quite a number of websites and some other different online places, but sometimes it took me quite a lot of time to locate the specific feature to reach my goal. But in Ning, everything is so clear and you can easily find out what you want and what you need to do. I also believe Ning can not be more suitable for the online teaching. Like in our class, when we log in, we can easily find out the latest activity and we know immediately what others are doing so we can never miss our assignments. Each member can also have their own page, so in this way, they can put their favorite materials there and share with other members. In the Forum, each topic is listed so distinctively and we will know what each topic is and what is the due date. We can also have our own groups and share ideas with each other.

  7. Lou Ellen says:

    This blog was interesting, and the video was informative. Myspace and Facebook are the two largest social networking sites. But they offer limited abilities. Anyone can join, but can only have one profile. With ning, you can set up total networks for many different groups: classes, family, friends, groups, or companies. This will be a very helpful tool for educational classes. Sharing ideas and collaborating on research is an exciting new tool using social networks like ning. I like social networking sites because you can personalize your own page. Regardless, of what you may use these sites for, you can custom make it to fit your mood, cause, or network. Movies, music and photographs can all be a main focus on these sites, or they can be part of the background. Forums can be created to learn from each other throughout your networking site. Ideas and thoughts can be shared and debated. Groups can be set up for classes. It is an easy communal site to maneuver, and gives students or co-workers a chance to work together more closely without having to physically be in the same work space at the same time. Students today, especially the non-traditional or graduate students are limited on time and resources. This networking site gives them a better opportunity to utilize their class for more than just traditional learning. Anywhere or anytime the student has ideas, questions, or even posting homework can help the students and teachers communicate with each other better.

  8. Tim Bryant says:

    In the future this may be where you meet your best friend, or keep in contact with him/her. There are groups of people with similar interests who meet through social networks and end up having once a year meetings where they all get together. We used to have something similar to this back in the days when IRC was huge. People would meet and start chatting with each other, and then get together at some point to cook out and visit.

    My only fear is that in the future salesmen will start finding the social networks and use it as a way to make contacts and sell their wares. There is not telling how far Telemarketers will go to get you to buy whatever it is they’re selling.

    It’s really not a new idea, just a new technology. You see the little old ladies in their red hats, or the ladies that all go to cooking class on Thursday night, or the guys eating lunch together and having their rotary club meeting. Now they can do all that and more 24/7. The busier we get it is an excellent way to stay in touch with others who have similar interests, but in a way it’s also adding to the problem by giving you an excuse to not meet in person and have that personal interaction.

    I have fear about people using this too much, and losing that personal interaction, but in the end my fears may be unfounded because people NEED personal interaction, and the Internet can never take the place of that.

  9. wanda moye says:

    We, as human beings are social creatures and need to communicate. Alexander Graham Bell would be speechless and Charles Babbage’s mind probably could not comprehend today’s computers and the technologies that accompany them. Technology today helps us to communicate in ways that we never could have envisioned 50, 30, or even 20 years ago. The development of Social networks platforms such as Ning allows senders and receivers to communicate at all times of day or night without the cost of an expensive phone call or worrying about the time of day a transmission is sent.

    As much as I love to investigate technology, I must confess, I am a little leery about social networking. Academically speaking I think this helps students and educators with tools to keep abreast of their subject matters and the sharing of ideas. Hobbyists, families keeping in touch, forums, videos, and RSS are all great reasons to use social networking. I do, however wonder, about predators that might convert this gift to society into something less desirable. However, I guess there is good and bad in everything (yin and yang).

    I can think of great possibilities for such social networks in the field of medicine. Physicians and scientists sharing their experiences and information may help to save lives. Journals take some time to publish and authenticate work. Having medical social networks that share information could help someone in need, around the world. Many times useful information does not get published because of space constraints or importance. A social network would be extremely helpful at reaching other specialist in a situation such as that.

  10. 秀敏 says:

    這學期在阮教授的介紹下,我與文藻老師合作之課程亦使用Ning建立網站課程(http://jyu972.ning.com)。並且使用Ning建立起博士班英文寫作學習社群之交流網站(基於使用者不公開之原因不給予網址)。建立過程中一直思考如何將網路學習社群作最好的經營,但是依然不可避免有些問題無法解決,因此以下就我使用經驗進行分享:
    1.課程網頁架構技術面:
    此部分很容易就掌握Ning的操作介面,亦很容易的建構起課程網頁,但是可惜的是課程內容部分之連結空間有其侷限。我們的課程需要作完整教材及實際課程錄影呈現,需要很大的空間,之前使用Blogger建立教學網站時,亦面臨同樣問題,因此需要另外有一空間進行課程內容網頁架構,Ning功能則用於線上議題討論,線上聯繫公告,及其他相關功能。但這是無可避免的現象亦是在建置課程網頁時必遭遇的問題與問題。
    2.線上課程氛圍經營面:
    第一週我們採取主動告知學生本課程教學網站位於何處,期待有學生可以主動登入網站進行相關活動,但一如所料….無人!第二週則採鼓勵方式,來了兩位,因此第三週祭出分數計分,來了二十幾位,之後陸陸續續來了一些學生但是佔總修課學生比率越80%,因此可以發現台灣學生對於網路上進行回應之主動性與興趣不高或者有所不可預期的原因。
    因此後來幾次線上議題討論皆是以祭出計分數方式進行,大致都可以達到80%以上回答率。
    3.線上討論的質量部分
    此部分是我最質疑的,因為就算是我自己再回bolg問題時,我並不能如書寫作業或是報告一般能引經據典的進行書寫,而是如寫電子郵件一般的進行回覆,當然所謂的線上議題討論,說穿了大家並非在討論而是在張貼自己對於該議題的見解與回答,同學回答什麼他們並不在意,也不會去給予同學回應與鼓勵,實在是值得思考。
    但總體而言對於Ning我給我很大的肯定,因為速度快,系統功能完整!

  11. 秀敏 says:

    這學期在阮教授的介紹下,我與文藻老師合作之課程亦使用Ning建立網站課程(http://jyu972.ning.com)。並且使用Ning建立起博士班英文寫作學習社群之交流網站(基於使用者不公開之原因不給予網址)。建立過程中一直思考如何將網路學習社群作最好的經營,但是依然不可避免有些問題無法解決,因此以下就我使用經驗進行分享:
    1.課程網頁架構技術面:
    此部分很容易就掌握Ning的操作介面,亦很容易的建構起課程網頁,但是可惜的是課程內容部分之連結空間有其侷限。我們的課程需要作完整教材及實際課程錄影呈現,需要很大的空間,之前使用Blogger建立教學網站時,亦面臨同樣問題,因此需要另外有一空間進行課程內容網頁架構,Ning功能則用於線上議題討論,線上聯繫公告,及其他相關功能。但這是無可避免的現象亦是在建置課程網頁時必遭遇的問題與問題。
    2.線上課程氛圍經營面:
    第一週我們採取主動告知學生本課程教學網站位於何處,期待有學生可以主動登入網站進行相關活動,但一如所料….無人!第二週則採鼓勵方式,來了兩位,因此第三週祭出分數計分,來了二十幾位,之後陸陸續續來了一些學生但是佔總修課學生比率越80%,因此可以發現台灣學生對於網路上進行回應之主動性與興趣不高或者有所不可預期的原因。
    因此後來幾次線上議題討論皆是以祭出計分數方式進行,大致都可以達到80%以上回答率。
    3.線上討論的質量部分
    此部分是我最質疑的,因為就算是我自己再回bolg問題時,我並不能如書寫作業或是報告一般能引經據典的進行書寫,而是如寫電子郵件一般的進行回覆,當然所謂的線上議題討論,說穿了大家並非在討論而是在張貼自己對於該議題的見解與回答,同學回答什麼他們並不在意,也不會去給予同學回應與鼓勵,實在是值得思考。
    但總體而言對於Ning我給我很大的肯定,因為速度快,系統功能完整!

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