Ning,social networking Social network sites like MySpace and Facebook started an infectious desire from the public for more social-ness on the internet. The people were tired of chat rooms and IM just wasn’t cutting it. So the social network crazy started. But MySpace and Facebook aren't the only social networks out there... With the evolution of Web 2.0, social network sites began popping up all over the place. But none quite like this one…

Social Networking with Ning

Ning is an online platform for users to create their own social websites and social networks. It hopes to compete with other social networks like MySpace and Facebook. The unique feature of Ning is that anyone can create their own custom social network for a particular topic or need, catering to specific audiences. ning_1.jpg

They offer a single customizable template aimed at allowing non-developers to more easily customize their copy of the social website. Ning does allow developers to have some source level control of their social networks, enabling them to change features and underlying logic. Ning has announced support for the OpenSocial API that Google announced in late 2007. Developers will be able to run OpenSocial gadgets within their networks. So if you’re looking for an easy to use alternative that doesn’t involve having to get a new hosting account, then Ning is your thing.

Getting Set Up With Ning

Getting set up with Ning is simple. Just visit www.Ning.com and click on the "Get a Ning ID" tab to get started. Once you have an account set up they provide a number of tutorials and references to help out with customization and configuration. ning_2.jpg>

Another alternative is to find a freelancer. When looking for freelancers make sure you get someone with experience in what you’re looking for and can provide working, published examples at the aforementioned places. Ning sites are hosted with Ning, which results in a www.YourSite.ning.com url, but they also offer a url masking feature for $5.00 that will eliminate the .ning from the url (result: www.YourSite.com). And with features like blogs, video, audio and almost anything else you want including mini-forums, you now have a social networking powerhouse at your fingertips.

Will Ning Compete?

According to Ning CEO, Gina Bianchini: “Nearly 30,000 applications have been created to date, up from less than 5,000 a year ago. Page views have been spiking, reaching 20 million per month, 20x traffic a year ago. Unique visitors have reached nearly 5 million per month as well, 10x a year ago.” And that was a year ago… Ning seems geared to give the big boys a run for their money. It will be interesting to see what happens.