Manny Hernandez
Manny Hernandez
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Earth Day comes around every year on April 22. But this year, in addition to riding your bike to work and turning off the water while you brush your teeth, you can join the Earth Day Network’s new official social network, created to help promote the observance of Earth Day.

We interviewed Joshua Forgotson, the network creator for the Earth Day social network. He is the International Programs Director at EDN and he shared with us his motivations to develop a social network using Ning.

Joshua also made use of the domain mapping premium service, which allows network creators to use their own domain name. This allowed him to direct his members to network.earthday.net.

You can also stay current about Earth Day news through the news feeds that the Earth Day social network has included on their home page in four different languages, taking advantage of the RSS feeds feature. This is one of the many ways in which the Earth Day social network reaches out to people from all over the world as Earth Day approaches.

What motivated you to start the network?

As the name of our organization, Earth Day Network (EDN), suggests, we have always aspired to provide our members with the most “networked” experience possible in order to enable them to collaborate in the planning of their annual Earth Day events. As our members establish their own groups under our umbrella, they strengthen their capacity to carry out top-notch Earth Day events by sharing advice, best practices and innovation. This approach has enabled EDN and its valued members to contribute their resources to the global spread of Earth Day and the environmental awareness it raises.

What feature in Ning has helped you the most in the development of your network? Why?

I enjoy – and our network members enjoy – all the features Ning offers. The feature that most suits my vision of our development is the “groups” section, whereby we’re able to invite our members to form their own groups, effectively enabling them to establish Earth Day groups and planning committees around the world, and hence carry out exciting Earth Day events that make a difference.

Can you share an anecdote about the network?

EDN started out on the right foot by virtue of the fact that we came into Ning with a network of members to invite to join us there. Still, I was impressed by the results of the email blast we sent out to our members inviting them to join us on Ning. We more than quadrupled our social network membership that day, which is a great testament to the dedication of EDN’s members.

Right away, they began writing each other, posting environmentally-themed photos and videos, and forming groups to plan their Earth Day events. There was no mistaking their eagerness to meet each other and get to the fun stuff – planning for Earth Day.

What are your plans for the future of your network?

We have huge aspirations for this social network. Eventually we hope to see our members create their own Earth Day groups in every nation, and even in sub-regions of those nations, which isn’t far-fetched considering people already celebrate Earth Day in over 174 countries. We also plan to use the video feature extensively, soliciting and featuring members’ footage of their Earth Day events. We’re also considering adding some contest elements to this to further incentivize video contribution.

After Earth Day 2008 happens this April 22, I’m sure we’ll see a flood of Earth Day photos, and we’re enthusiastic about featuring those. The most important activity we have in mind over the next three months is inviting our members to visit our Earth Day event registration pages at www.earthday.net, so they can add their events to what’s going to be thousands of other events happening around the world and featured in a virtual international Earth Day event repository that everyone can use to promote their events or find an event to attend.

Check out the Earth Day network, and don’t forget to check back often as you plan for and celebrate Earth Day!