Monthly Archives: March 2008

Marching with the Obama Brigade

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In the midst of a heavily contested presidential primary, Barack Obama supporters are turning to social networks to organize and communicate. Inspired supporters have created their own network to focus their energy: the Obama Brigade.

Members are utilizing the network for a variety of purposes. First and foremost, they are sharing their reasons for supporting Sen. Obama and debating what Obama’s election would actually mean for the country and world. Old-fashioned street walking still matters in election, so the Obama Brigade also uses the forums for old-style organization to arrange meetings. The network has also set up groups for each state, so supporters can focus their energy on each state’s primary and network with fellow residents.

Of course, members have put the multimedia sections of the network to good use as well. Hundreds of supporter photos — some of Obama himself — have been uploaded. Members are obviously big fans of Will.i.am’s "Yes We Can" video, and they have even created their own music videos to show off:

So if you’re an Obama supporter, join the bridgade. If you’re throwing your support to another candidate, start your own brigade!

A blog a day at NaBloPoMo

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Every month is national blog posting month at NaBloPoMo! What started as a challenge to post a blog each day, just for the month of November, can now be taken up any month of the year. It’s the brainchild of network creator Eden Marriott Kennedy.

If you find it difficult to stay motivated, NaBloPoMo has some simple advice: “Post every day for a month. That’s all you have to do.” Hundreds of members have taken up the challenge, with participants opining on everything from Boston food and “whine” to life in japan. Members who do not already have an active blog are welcome to use the blog feature on their NaBloPoMo profile page.

If you’re struggling for inspiration, NaBloPoMo has a monthly topic to get you started. In April, it’s letters — love letters, fan letters, letters to the editor or any type of letter that gets you started writing and posting. You can get a badge to promote the monthly theme, created by one of the network’s members. Eden also posts monthly badges to help promote the project. Once you commit to the challenge, you can be added to the network’s blogroll.

So now with NaBloPoMo, you have no excuse — so get posting!

My Gallery: A Gallery For Everyone

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My Gallery is a “free website dedicated to artists, art appreciators and buyers that lets them meet other artists and display their works.” It’s also a fantastic concept — a virtual art space where artists and art appreciators can do everything from discuss issues relevant to the artist community to buying, selling, trading or just appreciating each others’ art pieces.

It’s a thriving network as well, with more than 300 members from around the world. Members are posting some amazing pieces — stained glass to sculpture, video-based art to an oil on canvas painting of Johnny Depp. And members of My Gallery take advantage of the customizable profile pages. (No surprise there, of course. They’re artists!)

Content aside, this Network Creator has taken full advantage of the customization you can do with your network. The language editor is used thoughtfully, so that members are referred to as artists, and what is a photos section for other networks is now a “Gallery.” The Network Creator has also added the ability to add the My Gallery Artwork slideshow to Facebookwhich any Network Creator can do — and uses premium services to replace the default ads with their own, as well as a PayPal donation button.

Jackson Pollack once said that “the modern artist is working with space and time and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.” And visiting My Gallery, you definitely get the sense that many diverse and wonderful feelings are truly being expressed.

Drawing plans on myarchN

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myarchN is a network where members come to share, enjoy and discuss architecture.

Rafael Marxuach, the Network Creator of myarchN, strives to get the most out of the Ning platform in order to provide his members with an engaging network. Marxuach sees that the practice of architecture is advancing and wants myarchN to be on the forefront of change. As he explains, “It all started by curiosity and realizing the enormous changes that are ahead of us in the way the profession is changing with the developments of open source and the internet.”

To keep members up to date with these changes myarchN includes a news page where you’ll find RSS feeds from various architectural news sources. On the calendar page is a google calendar widget to display events of interest to myarchN members. For example, at the end of this month myarchN will celebrate its first anniversary.

To highlight and promote engaging content, myarchN has a Best Of section for blog posts, discussions, groups, photo albums and videos. Using a simple polling tool, members can vote for their favorites from three finalists in the each category.

On member’s personal blogs they express opinions on their current work and can share the projects that inspire them as well as one’s that challenge them.

In groups, the members of myarchN come to discuss the more specific realms that make up architecture as a whole. Groups cover a broad range from the specific, architectural lighting, to the grand in focus, city plans.

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So if you too are an architecture buff, you’re sure to enjoy myarchN.

Reach new heights at the Skydiver Network

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Skydiver Network is a network for skydiving, base jumping and tunnel-flying enthusiasts. Just looking at this network is like taking a shot of adrenaline, even if you’re looking at it from the comfort of the earth’s surface.

Photos of free falls, in various formations? Check. An image of a child “falling” in a wind tunnel? Check. Video of a guy jumping out of a building, landing safely at the bottom and high-fiving a cop afterwards? Check! And there’s also a place on the forums where members of the Skydiver Network can buy or sell gear.

Skydiver Network also takes full advantage of third-party widgets on the network. It includes a calendar and a clock, so you’re not late for your next skydiving appointment.

For the thrill-seekers among us — who don’t cringe at the thoughtof jumping out of airplanes for fun — meet some like-minded jumpes and dive into the Skydiver Network.

Get Your CoolWorks Here

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My CoolWorks is a network that recently celebrated its first anniversary and now has more than 800 members. It’s a social network about people who share a common love for working in the great outdoors. Their experience in seasonal work is shared through blog posts, photos and videos.

A kiosk of abundant information about seasonal jobs and resources can be found on the right hand side of the main page. Motivating member participation, the Nework Creator came up with a Win an iPod photo contest where the winner will be chosen based on member ratings and comments. Connecting members of all different ages, Older and Bolder is one of the most active forums and groups for the more mature crowd. You’ll also find popular groups such as, Alaska Addicts, Yellowstone Employees and Grand Teton – the mini alps, with members sharing their adventurous stories and helpful tips with one another.

So come get your CoolWorks and venture into the wild.

Plugging into 52 Nights Unplugged

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52 Nights Unplugged is a network to discuss taking a break from all things technological — at least for one day a week, anyway. I would go into more detail, but Ariel, a popular blogger and author, does a terrific job explaining it on her Web site:

"This means no computer, no cell phone, no movies. I plan to focus instead on the other things I like doing like writing letters, crafting, organizing, dancing, going for walks, cooking and making tea, writing in my paper journal. I might also try picking up some new things to like such as watercolors, mail art, dance classes, attending lit readings, etc. I’m going to work on my next book, brainstorming by hand. (By hand, people!) Regardless, one night a week I’m going to unplug."

The 52 Nights Unplugged forum is a place where people document their unpget itlugged habits — one conversation on the forums talks about appropriate rules for unplugging (What? No iPod? But you gotta have music!), while another thread invites other bloggers to write about their experiences. And if the idea of going unplugged doesn’t sound like it should be a mind-shattering concept, the New York Times has picked up on the story. So has The Today Show, in a video the Network Creator embedded in a text box on the main page of the network.

For the curious, I tried going unplugged last week — you forget about what a wired world we live in until you’re sitting in a living room, realizing your options are to read a book or to interact with actual living people. If you’re curious as to what it’s like, join 52 Nights Unplugged today!

Embrace the irony of joining a network to discuss not using the Internet.

Affordable knitting on Knit Picks

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Knit Picks began in 2002 with the goal of bringing people quality knitting products at affordable prices. The retail site features innovative products that founders Bob and Kelley Petkun create in conjunction with yarn mills and needle makers, while their network brings their passionate staff and customers together to talk about all things knitting!

More than 1,500 members (or “knitters” on this network, thanks to the handy-dandy language editor) share their thoughts on Knit Picks needles and yarns. The forums also allow members to give feedback on Kelley’s weekly podcast, which is included prominently on the main page of the network using the music player.

Members of the Knit Picks staff are regular contributors to the network, and easily identifiable by the Knit Picks logo that they’ve added to their profile pictures. And while she might qualify as more of a mascot, even Xena, Kelley’s adorable pomeranian, is part of the fun. For new knitters, there are tutorials for help with yarn weights and stitch patterns. And for those knitters just needing a little group motivation, the Knitalongs can help keep your project moving along.

Knit Picks is a great example of how a company can engage customers on a whole new level, bringing people together online to share their passion!

What To Do This Weekend? Work at Ning, Of Course!

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Have I got an opportunity for you…

The Ning Platform is growing like a weed and we’re expanding our team to create a whole new flurry of awesome things for you and your networks. We’re looking for people to define new features, build them, test them, and make sure they can continue to scale like wildfire.

Here’s a little more info on Ning the Company:

  • As we mentioned last week, we just passed 200,000 social networks on the platform and we’re growing at over 1,000 social networks per day. This continues to translate into exponential growth in page views and unique users. Put simply, people like what we’re offering and that popularity continues to accelerate.
  • We’re based in Downtown Palo Alto, CA a hop, skip and a jump away from Cal Train. We’re primarily looking for people to be in our worldwide headquarters here in beautiful Northern California, but for certain positions, we’re open to exploring something remote.
  • We’re well-funded and have a clear business model. In other words, we’re not going anywhere.
  • You’d be joining a team of incredibly talented people (present author excluded). If you’re right for Ning and Ning is right for you, we can promise an incredible professional and personal experience.

As a first step, take a whirl through our Ning Jobs section and see if anything catches your eye. If it does, drop us a note. Even better, drop us a note with a resume. If there’s a good fit, Team Recruiting at Ning may just become your new best friend.

Have a great weekend!