Monthly Archives: April 2010

Keep on Truckin’

Let_s Truck - Home of Trucking Business & Beyond

24,000 members can’t be wrong. Let’s Truck is the place to be for anyone and everyone in the trucking and long haul business. A longtime Ning Network (it was started in spring of 2007), Let’s Truck has a suite of features meant to keep members engaged and coming back for more.

In addition to the standard suite of features, Let’s Truck is also rocking the BlogTalkRadio Ning App. Members can tune into “Let’s Truck, with Kevin Rutherford” without ever leaving the Ning Network. If you have an existing online radio show, using a Ning App is a simple way to integrate it with your Ning Network.

While profession is what ties the members of Let’s Truck together, the discussions in the forum range from equipment to politics. Interested in a new set of tires? Here’s a group of people who can offer up their own experiences. When they aren’t talking about trucks, the members have lots to say about other subject, including regulations, taxes and insurance issues.

On the Last Tuesday of the Month, a Virtual Artwalk

ARTWALK - C O M M U N I T Y

On the last Tuesday of every month, artists and art lovers are invited to meet up for a virtual art crawl. Tomorrow night, at 7 p.m. Eastern, art lovers from around the globe will congregate online and try to answer the question, “Where is the best art now?”

Much of the monthly artwalk happens on Twitter. Participants use the hashtag #artwalk to mark their tweets, and usually include links to their favorite new art. Following the stream creator Kim Sherrell has set up is a fantastic way to explore the contemporary art world without ever leaving home.

Artists participating in Artwalk are invited to join the Artwalk community, a Ning Network. There, members have a centralized place to post — and promote — their own art, on the monthly Artwalks, or whenever they simply want to share their work with a new audience. More than 2,000 photos have already been added, and members are increasingly posting videos as well.

So, to recap: the monthly virtual art crawl, Artwalk, starts tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Eastern. Join in via Twitter tomorrow, and upload and share at anytime on the Artwalk Community Ning Network.

Go Joe Sestak, for Democrats in Pennsylvania

Go Joe - Go Joe | The Sestak Action Network-1

Rep. Joe Sestak is challenging Sen. Arlen Specter for the democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s next primary. Sestak’s Ning Network — Go Joe Sestak — is the online action center for his most committed volunteers and supporters.

What can supporters do on his Ning Network? For starters, they can easily access an online toolkit. He’s built in easy-to-use tools for members to write letters to their local newspapers, request a bumper sticker and sign up to volunteer. To help facilitate the conversion of online volunteers to offline volunteers, there’s a variety of groups based around location. For politicians using Ning, building in features like these can help arm members with the resources they need to be effective supporters.

Mythbusters: Three Things We Aren’t Doing on May 4

Since announcing that we are now focusing 100 percent of the company on enhancing the features and services we offer to paying Network Creators and plan to phase out our free service, we’ve received a lot of feedback from Network Creators. We’ve heard from free and paid, business and nonprofit, educators and artists. We’ve been interacting on Creators, reading your comments on the Ning Blog and taking in your tweets. And, we’ve been listening to all of your ideas, suggestions and concerns.

We’ll share all of the details of our new offering with you, including features and price points, on May 4. However, I know there’s been some confusion and a number of rumors circulating about what we will announce and then roll-out in early summer. I wanted to take a minute to let you know three of the things we aren’t planning on doing on May 4.

  1. Rumor: “Ning will shut down networks who don’t begin paying for premium services by May 4.”  FALSE. You will have at least 10 weeks to evaluate the new pricing structure and make a decision to move to the new paid service. We’ll be announcing the details of our new pricing structure on May 4. We plan to roll-out the new pricing structure in early summer and then give you a transition period to sign-up for the new offering.
  2. Rumor: “Only very large networks will be able to afford the new fees.” FALSE. I am confident that many of you, particularly those of you already paying for premium services, will be pleasantly surprised by our new pricing structure. Our goal is to set the pricing at a level which will make Ning an attractive solution for both larger and smaller Ning Networks.
  3. Rumor: “This change means teachers and non-profits won’t be able to continue to use Ning.” FALSE. As Jason mentioned in his blog post last week, it’s our goal to have a set of product and pricing options that will make sense for all Ning Networks — even those that have limited budgets. Specifically, we know how many non-profit organizations and educators use Ning, and we plan on offering an option that will make it possible and attractive for them to stay on the Ning Platform.

Hopefully this will ease your concerns (if you have any) and help get you excited about what’s coming up. I’m looking forward to revealing more on May 4 and answering all of your questions then.

Political Voices: Retire Harry Reid

Retire Harry Reid

Nevada’s senior senator isn’t well loved by all Nevada residents. He isn’t even well-liked by some. And so those who dislike their D.C. representation (or who are voting for Republican Sue Lowden) have launched a new website, Retire Harry Reid. To go with it, a Ning Network for political activists to connect with each other, share plans and starting making plans to get out the vote..

An Update from Ning

Hi Everyone,

As many of you know, we made a decision yesterday to focus 100% of the company on enhancing the features and services we offer to paying Ning Creators. The tens of thousands of you who already use our paid service represent over 75% of our traffic, and we’ve heard repeatedly from you ways that we can deliver a killer service to help make your Ning Network more effective. Some examples of things we are working on that you’ve asked for include new APIs, a new mobile experience and new advertising and revenue opportunities.

As part of this change, we’ll be phasing out our free service.  On May 4, 2010, we will share with you all of the details of our new offering, including features and price points, through a series of blog posts, emails, and conference calls. We recognize that there are many active Ning Networks for teachers, small non-profits, and individuals and it’s our goal to have a set of product and pricing options that will make sense for all of them. For Ning Creators using our free service who choose to move to another service, we will offer a migration path and time to make that change. We will still continue to allow free trials and test networks on the Ning Platform.

We look forward to talking to you further on May 4th.

Guest Post: Create A University Class Ning Network

Today’s guest blog comes from Jack Hadley, CEO of Lava7 and an adjunct professor at BYU. We frequently hear about educators using Ning in the classroom, but it’s rare to find out just how effective using a Ning Network in a school setting is. That’s why it was so exciting to read a recent post from Jack, explaining how he used a Ning Network in an advertising class he taught at BYU. Jack’s post not only included how he used it, but what his students thought of it — and if they’d recommend it. After reading, we asked him to pen a similar post for the Ning Blog.

Powerful social media tools like Ning, Twitter, blogging and Ustream aren’t just for socializing and marketing. They facilitate fundamental shifts in the way people are connecting and communicating—shifts that can improve university learning.

I just completed a four-month exercise in a Comms230 class I teach at Brigham Young University. I designed and built a Ning network (with the help of our Lava7 team) to use as the foundation for our class. My goal was threefold—to better engage students with the subject matter (and with each other), to help students begin creating personal online brands, and to digitally centralize and manage day-to-day class functions.

There were 49 students enrolled in our class. Last week I asked them to answer three questions about their experience using our Ning network. It’s important to note that I instructed them NOT to put their names on their responses. I wanted candid, honest feedback without brownie-point undertones. 43 students were in attendance that day.

A representative handful of those responses are highlighted in the boxes below.

Q2

Uber-Engaged Students

The three questions I asked were open ended:

  1. What did you like, or not like, about the Ning network we used this semester in class?
  2. What did you like, or not like, about blogging on our Ning network this semester.
  3. Would this type of social network be useful in your other classes? Why, or why not?

100 percent of the students (43 of 43) answered “yes” to question #3 (and included supporting reasons). Approximately 98 percent of the 140+ comments I received could be described as “enthusiastically positive” about their experience.

Most of the students in our class had never blogged before. Hundreds of posts and comments later, blogging was the network component that made the biggest difference and had the most profound effect on their experience. My advice? If you use a Ning network in a university class, encourage (or better yet, require) blogging.

Q1

The Beginnings of Personal Online Brands

Teach students the concept of creating personal, online brands. It doesn’t matter what subject you teach. New media tools have changed the rules. What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas. Help students discover how to use social media tools to their advantage. Your Ning class network can be a great starting point.

Continue reading

Ooooby — A New Way of Local Eating

Ooooby

Ooooby. Sounds like baby speak, but it’s actually an acronym standing for: Out Of Our Own Backyards. Ooooby is all about “connecting communities through local food.” It’s a place for people who grow, eat and sometimes sell food grown in their backyards to connect with each other, a network of food gardeners and locavores who support local food and living locally.

The Ooooby Ning Network also serves as a place for people to plan and organize Ooooby Market Stalls. Ooooby Stall sells fruit and vegetables grown in local neighborhood gardens; farmers market attendees can buy or barter for food from the stalls. That way, everyone wins. People who grow excess food can make sure it doesn’t go bad, while shoppers know they are purchasing locally and humanely grown food.

Not every local market has an Ooooby stall though, so one way members are getting access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they are seeking out or people they want to sell to, is online. Via a custom Ning App called Grower’s Market, members can post listings for homegrown foods they are looking to barter or sell.

Introducing the Ning Certified Partners Directory

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Creating a new Ning Network is easy. You can get things up and running in less than 30 seconds and deliver a compelling social experience to millions of people. However, you may be interested in working with an outside designer, developer or consultant to create a very specific look and experience for your members, or to help you grow and manage your social experience.

We’ve reached out to the designers, developers and consultants behind some of the most successful Ning Networks (including Pickens Plan, Linkin Park and The Twilight Saga) and asked them to become Ning Certified Partners. If you’re looking to take your Ning Network to the next level, this directory is a great place to start.

Interested in becoming a Ning Certified Partner? Please contact certifiedpartner@ning.com. Include your area(s) of expertise and examples of past work.

Win a Year of Box.net’s Business Service (worth $2,400)

Box screenshot - Three screens

Can content enhance your Ning Network?

Yesterday we interviewed Box.net Platform Manager Jeremy Glassenberg about the Box.net Ning App, and how Ning Networks can use it to help manage and share content. Today, the friendly people at Box.net are giving away one year of Box.net Business service for 20 seats — a $2,400 value!

Entering is super simple. All you need to do is comment on this blog post, and let us know how your Ning Network would benefit from Box.net’s Cloud Content Management capabilities. Please include both your Ning Network’s address (http://) and how you would use Box.net in your comment. One winner will be chosen by overall best use case. Hurry! We’re accepting entries up until Tuesday, April 20 at 5 p.m PST.