Monthly Archives: August 2007

Classroom 2.0: Back-to-School Edition

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Classroom 2.0 is a social network for educators – 2537 strong – navigating technology in the classroom.

Here’s how Network Creator, Steve Hardagon, describes Classroom 2.0:

Welcome to Classroom20.com, the social networking site for those interested in the practical application of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in learning.

We especially hope that those who are “beginners” will find this a supportive community and a comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog.

Classroom 2.0 is a vibrant place. There are active discussions, lively groups, and some incredibly interesting ideas around the practical application of technology in learning. What I love most about it is how much support and sharing there is here among teachers on the front lines of navigating the good, bad, and ugly of technology innovation.

I’ve got to believe the classroom is a more fun and productive place when you have teachers who are creatively and passionately bringing social software into the mix. The teachers in Classroom 2.0 are leading by example.

Brookline High School Alumni Go Social

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Ah, Fall is in the air and our attention turns back to school. In this case, Brookline High School in Massachusetts, where they’ve created an alumni social network featured today in the hometown paper, the Brookline TAB.

Perfectly kicked off by a set of recent reunions, they are using this network to share updated information, photos, videos, as well as create groups for different classes and use the forum for announcements, not to mention discussing the glory days.

They’ve taken advantage of the privacy option to show only the Main page of their public network to visitors, which for their purposes is a smart move. It strikes the right balance between being public and keeping the network exclusive to Brookline High School Alumni. They’ve also mapped the domain name to www.BrooklineHigh.org.

One feature that I think that they should promote is the ability for any member to email in photos and videos from their cameraphone into the network. This feature is perfect for events like reunions, concerts, you name it. Once set up, it’s sure a lot easier on the Network Creator than having everyone on the network email one person with their photos from the reunion. :-)

A Tour of Your Network’s Manage Page, Part I

Every now and then it’s not such a bad idea to take a quick tour of your network’s Manage page. We’re constantly adding new features and options for Network Creators and this is ground zero for taking advantage of them. In fact, we offer so many options for Network Creators on the Manage page, I’m breaking up this tour and spreading the love.

Here’s my Manage page for Santa Monica Beach Volleyball, my demo network on Ning:

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The Manage page is divided into three sections:

  • Network Settings – or your network’s control panel.
  • Promote Your Network – or ways to share your network to the world.
  • Ning Resources – or all the little ways we like to help you with your social network on Ning.

Let’s first dive into your Network Settings…

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Aunty Monkey: Up, Up, and Away

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Aunty Monkey is a great example of how to build a successful social network on Ning about, well, anything. I’ve never given much thought to hot air ballooning as a hobby, and yet this tight-knit community has come together over just that. The network, with over 250 members, is now number 10 on the top 50 hot air ballooning websites. This is, in large part, due to the search engine optimization that comes automatically with your social network on Ning.

The beautiful custom header, created from a ballooning photo and Aunty Monkey’s own quirky logo, immediately draws visitors in. A text box on the main page features a poll widget with ballooning-related questions.

Aunty Monkey’s strength is that it provides a place for people to share their passion for Hot Air Ballooning. And it’s clear that ballooning is more than just a hobby: take a look at the members and you can see that a lot of folks here own their own hot air balloons as businesses.

Over 2200 ballooning photos have been uploaded by members. Here’s the branded photo slideshow widget:


Find more photos like this on Aunty Monkey

Aunty Monkey has tapped into the passion for Hot Air Ballooning, and given ballooning enthusiasts a social network to call their own.

Launch Your Social Network with a Private Beta in One Easy Step

The private beta has become a requirement for any self-respecting or buzz-seeking new social network on the web.

Good news. You can create a private beta for your social network on Ning with a click. We’d never leave you out in the cold.

If you already have a network, go to your Manage page and choose the Privacy option in the middle column.

Manage Page
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Privacy Page
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From the Privacy page, you can create a private beta by clicking on the option to make your network Private on the right. You can also choose to give the members of your private beta the privilege of inviting new members in or give visitors to your private beta’s Main page the option to request an invitation. If you haven’t set up a network yet, you can make it Private on the Network Information page. This is the first page that you get when you create a network.

When you are ready to open your social network up to the world, ideally after you’ve created a thriving community within your private beta, just return to the Privacy page and choose to make your network Public on the left. It may take a moment or two while everything updates, but with this simple step your private beta will be open to the world to enjoy.

Pet Boogaloo

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Anyone who has ever had an adorable pet understands the urge to show him off. Pet Boogaloo was created for just that purpose.

It is also a strong contender for one of the cutest networks on Ning. Who can possibly turn away after seeing the custom header? The confused puppy, the wide-eyed kitten, the two birds that look like an old married couple? It’s a compelling value proposition. Not to mention the logo: “Put your pet on the net” makes it perfect for even most literal among us.

Members have embedded quirky videos – a cat opening a bottle, a dog speaking English – into their blogs, utilizing the ability to embed any widget into a blog post.

Network Creator Rita Wilhelm has introduced a contest to encourage members to customize their profile pages, with three cash prizes of $100 each. Groups abound for every type of pet you can own. Lizard, dog, or rabbit, big or small, real or even virtual, all pet owners are welcome to this network.

Most of the photos feature members with their animals, and many members feature their animals in their avatars as well.

And not only are people members of this network, animals are too. Some members have devoted their profiles to their pets, while others have simply created unique profiles for each pet. You can see here with the Network Badge what I’m talking about:


Visit PetBoogaloo

Quirky, yes. But if you’ve ever felt the overwhelming joy a pet can bring to your life, you’ll understand what Pet Boogaloo is about.

Indiepublic

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Indiepublic is a network for independent artists and designers, and the people who love them. In less than a month, over 1500 people have found their way to Indiepublic. Network Creator Sion has made Indiepublic as accessible and friendly as possible, with a “Getting Started” text box on the Main page, for this network and for Ning in general, and an extensive discussion thread dedicated to Indiepublic FAQs. The network has utilized a couple of our premium services. The domain has been mapped to www.indiepublic.com, and Sion runs his own ads.

Members of Indiepublic have created over a hundred groups for bonding by geographic location and type of craft. Over 15,000 photos have been uploaded, most of which are of the crafts and art members have produced. Here’s the branded slideshow widget from Indiepublic:


Find more photos like this on Indiepublic

The Forum category “Shameles Self-Promotion” further encourages members to showcase their work. And if you see an item you like, chances are you’ll be able to buy it on Etsy, the online mecca for handmade crafts. Most members include their Etsy Store badges on their profile pages.

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FirefighterNation

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FirefighterNation is a network for Firefighters, EMS, Rescue, and First Responders started about three weeks ago by webchief. In those three weeks, it has grown to nearly 2,000 members!

The network uses basically all of the features of the free Ning Social Network, adding to them Premium Services like Domain mapping (to point the network to station.firefighternation.com). Webchief has also added ‘tabs’ to feature specific content, like an FAQ, that were created by directly modifying the source code of the Social Network to specifically direct traffic into areas of the network.

It’s great to see the Ning platform used to provide a social network where people that perform such crucial services in our communities can find a place to connect and exchange ideas, thoughts, and help each other. Really fantastic.