Monthly Archives: March 2010

Action Begets Action: How the Cool Kids Get Involved

ASEC

For anyone who’s ever thought you were “too cool” for getting involved, you obviously don’t know Frank Scura.  When he conjured up the Action Sports Environmental Coalition in 2001, the green movement was still just for hippies and squares. But when you get pro-skaters Bob Burnquist and Jen O’Brien, and DC Shoe cofounder Damon Way on your team, there’s just no denying your cool factor.

Scura, also the Sustainability Advisor for the X Games, already knew that the action sports industry was popular with the coming-of-age generation, which meant they already looked up to these professionals as being the coolest of cool. The next feasible step was to use this advantageous position as a means for change; a catalyst for action. He knew that by getting professionals in the actions sports industry to sing the gospel of sustainability, he could get fans to follow suit. And sure enough, when the ASEC Ning Network was created last year, hundreds of cool kids took note.

But why are these cool kids backing the ASEC?  Because they believe in what it’s all about…

ASEC is about progressive eco-education and empowering people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in a way that embraces their existing lifestyle and enhances it. We think sustainability is fun and sexy; simply put, we throw a better party!

And who doesn’t like a party?

Roll Anything Day, for example, is just one of the party-like initiatives that the ASEC has put together on their Ning Network, and the whole nation is invited!  R.A.D. (for short) is a day designated to show off your skills as an environmental advocate by rolling around town on any non-motorized form of transportation.  The party kicks off on Oct. 10, 2010 and the plan is to have the whole nation popping wheelies. Now just try to tell me that’s not cool.

The fact is that pro-skaters and businessmen alike are living the life and, at the same time, are leading the resolution. But more importantly, these action sports heroes want us to know that we can do it, too. Check out ASEC today to find out how a little action can go a long way.

Carrie is an Associate Community Advocate at Ning.

Muziic Puts a Jukebox in your Ning Network

Muziic Ning App

You know what they say about music — it soothes the savage beast. And now there’s a Ning App available for Network Creators who want to make music available for their members.

The Muziic Ning App allows members of a Ning Network to search songs and videos and stream results in-demand, tune into radio stations and browse featured tracks and albums. It also allows members to easily create and save permanent music and video playlists. Friends or Enemies, the Ning Network for musical acts such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Katy Perry, has an implementation of the Muziic Ning App you can check out, but the App can be useful for non-music themed Ning Apps as well. A cultural-themed Ning Network could use the Muziic Ning App to give their members the ability to find ethnic music. Because Muziic uses YouTube, there’s a diverse, and never ending selection of music genres.

It’s easy to add the Muziic Ning App to your Ning Network. Click on the Ning Apps tab from the Manage page of your Ning Network and select the Muziic icon. Alternatively, you can install the Ning App directly to your Ning Network from the Ning Apps Directory page.

From Skateboard to Snowboard, it’s Time to Shred or Die

Shred or Die

Skateboarders, BMX riders, snowboarders, surfers and other extreme sport enthusiasts have a new online destination, Shred or Die. Started by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, Shred or Die is the perfect place for anyone who has ever gotten a broken arm skateboarding, picked themselves up, and come back for more, to spend a little quality time. Particularly in the videos section.

Almost 9,000 uploaded videos cover every type of outrageous skateboard trick and mishap, including the most famous Shred or Die video, Skater Ollies Car. It is what it sounds like; skateboarder Zack Miller ollies over a car that’s speeding toward him. It’s impressive, frightening, awe-inducing — and just the beginning of what’s been posted on Shred or Die.

The Return of Search on Ning.com

Update 11:20 a.m., 3/29: Search has been re-enabled on Ning.com.

Update 3:20 p.m., 3/26: We are continuing to look into issues with search. Thanks for your patience while we investigate.

Update 11 a.m., 3/26: We are looking into a few issues post-release, and search may be unavailable for a short time. We’ll update here with more info.

As we recently announced, Ning.com Network Search is making a comeback!

We have been working hard to make it easier than ever to find Ning Networks for your interests and passions. So we’re happy to announce that in the next few days, search will be back on Ning.com! We’ve heard a lot of feedback about how important this feature is from Network Creators as well as from members looking for Ning Networks.

For your Ning Network to appear in Ning.com’s Network Search, it must:

  • Be public. Prospective members won’t know too much about or be able to join your Ning Network if it’s private, and we want to protect the privacy of private Ning Networks and their members.
  • Be active. If your Ning Network has thousands of members but hasn’t had new content in months, it’s not likely to be ranked highly in searches.
  • Be launched and accessible. We don’t want to showcase Ning Networks that aren’t yet ready for prime time!
  • Not contain content that violates our Terms of Service.

For information on how to optimize your Ning Network for search, or if you have any search-related concerns about your Ning Network, please contact us through the Help Center.

Brent Vincent, Director of Engineering, leads the Search and Analytics teams at Ning.

From the NYT: Online Social Networks Bridge Gaps for Chronically Ill

My Invisible Disabilities Community - A Social Network For People Touched by Chronic Illness, Pain and Injury.

There’s a great article in the New York Times today about how online social networks — including Ning Networks — can help the chronically ill find friendship, support and information.

For many people, social networks are a place for idle chatter about what they made for dinner or sharing cute pictures of their pets. But for people living with chronic diseases or disabilities, they play a more vital role.

“It’s really literally saved my life, just to be able to connect with other people,” said Sean Fogerty, 50, who has multiple sclerosis, is recovering from brain cancer and spends an hour and a half each night talking with other patients online.

One of the featured websites in a Ning Network, My Invisible Disabilities Community. Network Creator Sherri Connell started it with her husband, and today there are more than 2,300 members who come together to discuss everything from Lyme’s Disease, to health insurance, to issues of pain.

It isn’t only the My Invisible Disabilities Community Ning Network that’s offering support to those with diseases and disorders. TuDiabetes offers support for those with diabetes. Austim Speaks is a resource for people on the autism spectrum. The Epilepsy Foundation supports more than 3 million people living with epilepsy. From the biggest Ning Networks, with thousands of members, to those that reach just a couple dozen, people are coming together online to support and help one another.

From Brazil, Speaking Portuguese, Living in the U.S.

Alienigenas Na America

Twenty five different languages are available to you when you set up your Ning Network. While here at Ning HQ we speak (primarily) in English, we love Ning Networks in all languages that are beautiful, active and thriving.

Alienigenas Na America is a podcast and Ning Network run by a Brazilians in the U.S. Each podcast is uploaded to the music player, and also listed on a page, for easy access. Interested in learning more? Check out the blog, where background on each episode is added, along with videos, photos and more.

Now Live! Content Flagging on Ning Networks

Flagging

If you have an active Ning Network, you know that moderating the content added to your Ning Network can be an important part of making it a welcoming place. We’re happy to announce a new feature we think Network Creators are going to be very excited about: content flagging. With the new content flagging feature, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to moderation. You can appoint members to flag — and hide — content that might be inappropriate and then decide for yourself whether questionable content belongs on your Ning Network. The idea is simple: Use the power of crowdsourcing and make the moderation of your Ning Network more efficient for everyone involved.

Once content is flagged, it will be invisible to visitors or regular members — essentially it will be marked as private. You can choose to leave it hidden, delete it or even reverse the flag and reveal it. It’s a great way to distribute moderation capabilities beyond your inner circle of administrators, but still maintain complete control over what content is ultimately removed.

By default, all Network Creators and Administrators will have this ability to flag content. So, if you’re perfectly happy with your current approach to moderation, you won’t need to change a thing. Otherwise, you can appoint a member to be a content flagger from their profile page.

Want to know more about content flagging? You can read all about it, ask questions or provide feedback on Creators.

A Crash Course in Saving the World, through Urgent Evoke

urgentevoke

Oil scarcity. Natural disasters. Terrorism. Regional conflicts.

The issues facing the planet today are significant, challenging political leaders, nonprofits and policy makers to come up with new solutions. A new Ning Network thinks you can help, too. It’s called Urgent Evoke, and it’s the newest offering from game-designer Jane McGonigal.

McGonigal has previously created games on Ning — Top Secret Dance Off and CryptoZoo — but Urgent Evoke is surely her most ambitious project on Ning to date. So what is it?

EVOKE is a ten-week crash course in changing the world.

It is free to play and open to anyone, anywhere.

The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.

Each Wednesday night, a new Evoke is sent out. Evokes are calls for help, missions for members to take on. Each mission has three parts: Learn, Act and Imagine.

This week’s mission is Power Shift — thinking about and coming up with new ways to help reduce our reliance on traditional power sources. To participate in the mission, members can learn about those who are coming up with new ways to power our lives. Then, they can act, by designing a new way to power an everyday activity. Part of the mission includes sharing their designs, through a blog post, photo or video upload. Finally, members can imagine, by telling a creative story about celebrating a special day — in the year 2020 — and what types of energy power it.

Urgent Evoke is produced by the World Bank Institute, and continues through May 12.

Ming and Ping and Ning: It’s about the Fans

mingping

For every big-name musical act like 50 Cent or Linkin Park playing to massive crowds on Ning, there’s a host of scrappy, not-yet-breakout bands using Ning to get the word out.

Whether they have ten fans or 10,000, every band that lasts for more than a few months ends up building some kind of community around the art they create. So it is with the musical duo Ming and Ping. If you’re not familiar with Ming and Ping, they are two Hong-Kong-transplanted twin brothers who presumably own every Gary Numan and New Order album ever made. They’re seriously into creating 80’s New Wave-inspired electronic music. Or, to put it another way — the way they put it themselves — they’re “the spiciest twins making the spiciest electro-pop music!”

Ning seems to work for them because they’re clearly focused on not just making electronic music, but creating an atmosphere that goes beyond a fog machine and some disco lights. They’re building a brand for themselves, with their Ning Network at the center of their online presence.

On their Ning Network you’ll find not just music and photos and videos but also memorabilia. That’s right: memorabilia. The band has integrated PayPal directly into their Ning Network to offer Ming and Ping t-shirts, posters, lyric books, pins, arm bands, Ming and Ping masks — you name it. They’ve even created a free iPhone Ming and Ping Pong game featuring a soundtrack of their latest music. It’s all very creative, at times a bit silly, but ultimately great fun. Their online store is one that other bands would do well to emulate.

They’ve definitely put on their marketing hats to create a place where like-minded New Wave music aficionados would want to hang out. Along the way, their unique, word-of-mouth, in-the-know approach has even built up a bit of a mystique about Ming and Ping. People ask about it on their Ning Network Forum: What, exactly, is Ming and Ping all about? Are Ming and Ping really twin brothers? Are they actually the same person? Where can I see them play live?

Only their true fans know the full story.

For Basketball Fans, March is the Month

Hoop Connection - Hoopcation_ Basketballs Greatest Escape

Last year, an article came out that tried to quantify how much money was lost by workers spending time playing attention to NCAA basketball instead of their work. Unfortunately for employers everywhere, there’s no stopping March Madness. Trash talk, wagering and predictions are just three of the activities taking place on Ning Networks related to basketball.

The Hoop Connection is dedicated to giving players access to opportunities to play in college. High school players are encouraged to get busy both offline and online. Online, they should complete their profiles to help get their names out there. And offline, The Hoop Connection offers up a series of training plans.

Some people enjoy watching the game, more than playing it. For them, there’s Ball Is Life. Essentially, members and the Network Creators create mix-tape videos — mashups of some of the hottest plays and players. If you want to check them out, head to the videos section.

For coaches, March is a time to bust out the best, most advanced plays and toughest, most in-shape squad. Basketball coaches of all types can connect with each other at Hoop Coach. Describing itself as a LinkedIn for basketball coaches, Hoop Coach is more than that — it’s also a resource. For example, members can upload and share their plays they’ve developed, and trade advice on job searches and more in the forums.

There are some people, for whom every month feels like March. Who are these people? Those married to college coaches. When they need to vent, commiserate, or just chat with someone who has been there before, they head to Married to the Game.