Monthly Archives: April 2009

Live the Chocolate Life

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The Chocolate Life is a social network for where “chocophiles” can share their passion and explore the world of chocolate. Network Creator Clay Gordon is a chocolate critic and the author of “Discover Chocolate.” While promoting the book, Clay realized tons of people were writing about chocolate. He created The Chocolate Life as the first purposeful social network for chocolate fans, and invites anyone with an interest in chocolate to join.

Clay does a great job making all members, from the casual chocolate fan to the die-hard chocophile, feel at home on The Chocolate Life. The main page of the social network has a good welcome center with tips and guidelines for using The Chocolate Life.

The Events section is full of diverse happenings like food and wine festivals and chocolate workshops. Members organize chocolate tastings and swaps and talk about starting their own chocolate businesses in some of the Groups on The Chocolate Life. They also share videos about making artisanal cocoa butter and ornate chocolate sculptures. Don’t miss the Photos section, with 2500 shots of everything from cacoa pods to pruning a cacoa tree to shelling roasted cacao to Mayan chocolate bars, and even chocolate fashion.

Rethink your career at Talent Revolution

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Talent Revolution is a social network that is all about creating ultimate career lifestyles. One member, Matt Smith, has posted a “Break Up Series” on his blog — it’s an extended metaphor guiding people who have been recently been “dumped” by their company.

Members can also show their pride by grabbing a Talent Revolution T-shirt from the store. Adding a store to your social network is an easy way to generate revenue and extend your brand.

MIX — where EPIC FU lives

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EPIC FU is the award-winning pop culture newscast created by Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz. Stoking the flames of geek passion since 2006, EPIC FU is up for two Webby Awards and already took home a Streamy Award this year. MIX is the social home for EPIC FU — it’s where members catch new episodes, share their opinions in the forum, and upload their own photos and videos. MIX also uses RSS to import the EPIC FU blog — it’s where I found this impressive mashup art from Josh Poehlein.

For more on MIX, check out Steve and Zadi tell their story below. You can check out more Ning Creator stories or submit your own here.
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UK Handmade

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UK Handmade is “a design led online magazine committed to showcasing and promoting the best creative talent the UK has to offer.” Their social network of the same name connects artists in the UK with each other. Members have uploaded pictures of their handmade goods including gorgeous jewelry, beautiful shawls, and even dinosaur hats.

The UK Handmade social network uses their discussion forum to engage members. To help the 400+ members get to know each other, they’ve started an Introductions thread. More recently, after publishing the Spring Issue of their magazine, they started a forum discussion to get feedback from members.

Follow Catherine Hardwicke to Twilight and beyond

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Director Catherine Hardwicke earned countless fans for her film adaptation of Twilight. Now these fans have a new home at Hardwicke’s social network where they can follow her career as she takes on new projects like If I Stay and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride. Using Premium Services, Hardwicke has pointed the domain “catherinehardwicke.com” to her social network, making it the official hub of her online presence.

There’s plenty here for Twilight fans, too. Hardwicke’s Twilight Director’s Notebook hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and you can catch exclusive videos of her book tour on her blog.

Knit Picks: A Knitting Community

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Knit Picks Community is the social network of Knit Picks, a retail site focused on providing high quality knitting supplies at affordable prices.  The Knit Picks staff is extremely involved in the social network, especially Xena (owner Kelly‘s dog) who maintains her own blog. The staff also produces a weekly podcast.

Over 12,000 knitters have joined the Knit Picks Community and many of them are taking part in Knitalongs to get support on their projects. There are 19 Knitalongs happening right now to help knitters in making sock monkeys, cardigans, and completing their UFOs (or “UnFinished Objects). Knit Picks staff member Tina created the UFO Knitalong because “I don’t know about you, but I have too many things started. Join me in my quest to get finish what I’ve started. The deal is, for every 2 projects I finish, I get to reward myself by starting something new.”

The Knit Picks Community is a great place for members to extend their knowledge of knitting through written or video tutorials. If you’re new to knitting, you can start off with a simple knit stitch or purl stitch before advancing to more advanced stitches. The Knit Picks Community also offers several freebies for members including knitting patterns and gorgeous wallpaper.

Finally, they’ve added an FAQ to provide their members with an introduction to the features on the social network. They’ve accomplished this by creating a forum discussion and adding a tab. You can add an FAQ or Help Center like this for your members by adding a note, page or forum thread and a tab using the Tab Manager. Then fill in popular questions you’ve received from members or cut and paste from the articles in the Ning Help Center.

Join the Think Big Revolution

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Michael Port has a mission: to challenge everyone he meets to “think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world.” He created his social network, the Think Big Revolution, to empower people to get involved and do big things together, like championing causes and making real changes.

Port has used the Language Editor on his social network to reinforce what the Think Big Revolution social network is all about. He’s renamed the Groups feature to Revolutions. Members of the social network have taken the opportunity to build their own revolutions around what they care about, from owning small businesses to healthy living to turning passions into profit.

Port calls blog posts manifestos, and he and members blog about what they stand for and the changes they are making in themselves and the world around them. He’s even renamed members to Revolutionaries, portraying that anyone participating in this social network is part of a revolution to change the world.

With feedback from members of the Think Big Revolution, Port authored The Think Big Manifesto, which was released on Monday and has since climbed Amazon’s bestsellers list (it’s currently at #33 on Amazon!). I got the chance to ask Port a few questions about the book and the Think Big Revolution this morning. Check out his answers after the jump.
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Up up and away with Aunty Monkey

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Aunty Monkey is “a place where you can share anything you want about ballooning.” Members have added nearly 25,000 photos including monkey balloons, lady bugs or Darth Vader. At the end of last year, Aunty Monkey held a photo competition. Given the amount of competition, 2 people came in first place: Robin Gates with Gallup08Crack (Yikes!) and  Scoolover with an Untitled photo.

Network Creator Andrew Robertson engages members on their thoughts around the design of Aunty Monkey. He just blogged about the designs of Aunty Monkey over the past 10 years, and he invites members to vote in a poll on the main page whether they like the new design.

Just launched: Enrique Iglesias’ social network

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Pop star Enrique Iglesias launched his brand-new social network on Ning today, just in time for fans to celebrate his six wins at the Latin Billboard Awards. Members of his social network can check in on the latest news on Enrique’s profile page, where he posts news and updates from the road.

Enrique’s fans are also getting excited for his European tour, which is currently underway and is hitting spots like Paris, Helsinki, Monte Carlo and London over the next three months. Tour dates are promoted both via the Events feature and a text box on the main page. Members can find out more information about the concerts, including which other members are attending, and even buy tickets to the shows. Enrique’s social network also provides song lyrics for fans to brush up on before they see him in concert.

New parents gather at Babble Playground

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Babble Playground is a parenting social network and the companion to Babble, the magazine for a new generation of parents.

Entire families are creating profiles on Babble Playground, like the Griscom Volkman Family, who maintain a really powerful blog addressed to their children. The Babble Playground also has a great set of photo contests, like best Halloween Costume and most Serious Face.

For more on Babble Playground, watch Editor April Peveteaux tell the social network’s story. You can check out more Ning Creator stories or submit your own here.


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