I am often asked, “how is creating your own social network on Ning different from creating a group on Facebook?” I think it is a great question with a simple answer best shown through a few pictures.
Let me start by saying that we think Facebook is fantastic. As Marc mentioned in a recent post, Facebook’s popularity has directly translated to people creating their own social networks on Ning:
Interestingly, rapid growth of all of these metrics on Ning has coincided with the explosion of public interest around Facebook — as people learn about social networking on a system like Facebook, they get even more interested in creating their own social networks and engaging in targeted, topical social networks on Ning. Or, put more simply, the market is very large and growing fast — people love this stuff.
We love it too.
That being said, there are a few key differences between a social network on Ning and a group on Facebook. Let’s dive in…
They are using the HTML text boxes on the Main page in a variety of great ways. One way is to showcase a weekly video featuring the winner of that week’s review contest as well as links to member-contributed movie reviews via small thumbnails. Here’s the current video:
Another is to showcase each of their Spill-provided movie reviews underneath the main introductory text box.
In order to provide a few different ways for members to contribute reviews, they are also promoting on the Main page audio reviews contributed by members. Here’s the player from the Main page of the current audio reviews:
It definitely helps that they have multiple network “leaders” driving the charge here at The Spill. In one week, they’ve added over 500 members and counting, and by looking at the Latest Activity on the Main page, things seem to be cooking.
Sarcoidosis is a new social network organized by SILA, the Sarcoidosis and Interstitial Lung Association and managed by Network Creator, Henry Shelford.
SILA’s Main page highlights the network as a “discussion area” to meet others touched by the immune system disorder called sarcoidosis. According to SILA, the disease has no known cause.
The Sarcoidosis network has been embraced by those with sarcoidosis as well as their families and friends. With over 350 members, the network has become a popular way to share stories and provide support. Like many social networks on Ning, SILA takes advantage of the option on public networks to restrict network access beyond the Main page to members only. On the Sarcoidosis network, this strikes the right balance between awareness and privacy.
Moreover, a look at the new Latest Activity panel on the Main page, containing the maximum of 20 items all added within the past six hours, proves just how often members are using the network.
The network’s active forum is where a lot of that action happens. Members of the Sarcoidosis network have also taken advantage of the Groups feature to create about 20 groups. There are groups for spouses and children of sarcoidosis patients. The most popular group, Steroid Treatment, has over 20 members and is used to talk about steroid treatment options and experiences.
SILA’s goal is to help people with Sarcoidosis. Like TuDiabetes.com, they’ve fostered a place for anyone touched by the disease to share their stories and receive support from others. The network is like a virtual support group, bringing SILA so much closer to achieving their goal.
So, you’ll need to be the judge of whether Ali Sabet’s has met his goal of creating a social network for hyper/talented folks across Design/Fine Art/Photography/Film/Animation/Music on Sabet.TV, but it sure looks pretty. And he’s done a lot of things right to make this a special place.
He’s seeded a whole range of relevant Groups as well as using the feature to roll out unique programs and contests. For example, he just kicked off an Art Swap that seems very cool. Plus he’s got a great little contest going, “Steal my iPhone“.
Draw, animate, photograph, video tape,paint or sing HOW you would steal my iphone. Keep your animations and videos short! 30 seconds max. AND USE THE SABET.TV LOGO/THEME SOMEWHERE IN YOUR ART.
See for yourself the work of the artists on Sabet.TV on the photo slideshow widget here:
Interestingly, he made the decision not to include his logo on the photo slideshow or video players in order to put the work front and center, but there’s still the link back to Sabet.TV. If he ever wanted to add it for viral videos, photos, and music players, he’s got a great logo on the Sabet.TV badge:
Tontine Nation describes itself as the “ultimate, unofficial fan club for the ultimate reality TV show.” It describes the show as:
“Tontine is a new reality show with the biggest payout in reality TV history, $10 million. Led by host Rob Mariano, 15 contestants invest their entire life savings into the prize pool and compete for 100 days across 7 continents.”
Like An American Band, I think that it is really interesting how aspiring reality shows are using social networks to generate contestants, interest, and momentum ahead of a launch.
I know I’m biased, but I also like how they are using the Latest Activity stream as a feature on every page in the right hand column now that Network Creators have an easy way to add that with the latest release. Here’s the Latest Activity stream on the Main page:
It will be very interesting to see where this all goes…
It’s an active network as you can tell over on the left hand column with their Latest Activity feed. The network’s over 200 members love spreading the joy. Almost 400 photos and 200 videos have been added to the network. Many of these have been added by Network Creator yourdk, including over 30 of his comedy troupe’s clips. Here’s the network’s branded video player:
The design of Secret Fun Time draws you in. The fun, quirky, bright pink custom header stands out against the stark black background. Bright pink headers and highlights throughout complete the dark, deadpan nature of the network.
Also unique about Secret Fun Time is the membership drive contest happening during the month of September. Announced on the main page, the contest will award the top three members who invite the most people to join with a new iPod Shuffle at the end of the month. Weekly updates, on the main page and sent out via broadcast messages, list the top three inviters and the number of people they have invited. These updates also encourage members to take advantage of the network’s easy “Invite” tool to drive more people to join the network. The membership drive is an ingenious way to get people to join and enjoy Secret Fun Time.