Author Archives: Mariko Fritz-Krockow

Resolving conflict with social networking

Peace and Collaborative Development Network, an “online initiative to bring together professionals, academics and students involved in Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, International Development, Democratization, Social Entrepreneurship.” The Network Creator of this active and passionate network of more than 4,600 members shared network’s (and his own) journey. Continue reading

Find a Polo club anywhere!

Polo Contacts Worldwide does a fantastic job of bringing people from around the world together through their common interest: Polo!

Just under a year ago, we blogged about the network, and the great strides it made in bringing together the global polo community. A lot has changed in the year since, but the network is stronger (and more active) than ever, with thousands of members that span both hemispheres.

Recently we spoke with Network Creator Hugh Evans about his experience starting and running the network, and he shared his advice for fellow Network Creators.

Tell me about your network.
In October last year, I was planning a trip to Singapore over New Year’s. I’d been told that Singapore Polo Club was a great place to play or visit but I didn’t know anyone. So I put Polo Contacts Worldwide together using Ning, thinking it could help me find contacts to find some Polo while traveling. After putting the network together I sent it to a few Polo friends, they sent it to their friends and voila! I got some great contacts for Singapore Polo. It’s just continued to grow from there.

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Bring celebrities to their fans with social networking

David Hasselhoff is a TV star with an action packed network on Ning, HoffSpace!

Network Creator Robin Smith and Creative Director Joe Townley, from Iconduit, talked with us about what it’s like to manage a social network of this scale!

Please tell me about your network. What was the idea that jump-started your network?
Joe: David Hasselhoff is the biggest TV star in the world (and by the way, that’s official in the Guinness Book of World Records!) and he’s known all over the world. I was standing on the Eiffel Tower with David and was astounded by the diverse number of nationalities of people that recognized him. We decided a network on Ning was the best way to connect all these fans. They love it and David loves the fact that he has a two-way relationship and a dialogue with his fans, rather than just telling them all the time what he’s doing. They get to send in their photos, videos, blogs, etc.

How do you manage such a huge number of members?
The trick is regular maintenance. We’re constantly on the network. That way, the number of approvals, emails, etc. is never overwhelming and we can easily respond to everything that’s happening on the network.

Do you have any secrets up your sleeve to help you maintain the network?
Robin: I think the secret to a great network with lots of people is making sure that your content is updated with as much consistency as you can manage. That allows for smaller bits of information on a more regular basis, which keeps everything fresh and accessible and keeps people coming back. Nobody wants to have to read through 57 blog posts that were done in a single day; that would be ridiculous and I think the users would get tired of it pretty quickly.

Joe: It’s also important to us that we have great relationships with our members. They are fantastic at reporting problems and giving us suggestions. I would definitely recommend that anyone starting a network works really closely with their members. Ultimately, we’re doing it for them and they respond to the idea of collaboration.

Where did the inspiration for the look and feel for your network come from?
We wanted something very simple, which minimized the amount of graphics as many of our international members do not have access to high-speed Internet access like we have.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing when managing a network?
Striking a reasonable balance between being accessible to your members and being overwhelmed by their requests. We try to keep as many people happy as possible, but the more requests we comply with, the more requests we seem to get. Everyone wants something from David and sometimes it’s hard to turn people down. David couldn’t physically respond to every request because there’s simply not enough time in the day.

Does David Hasselhoff hang out on the network personally and talk to members?
David does indeed hang out and talk to the members. Not as much as they or he would like, but he does chats (both live and regular) when his schedule will allow.

Do any of your members know each other in the “real world?”
Some of our members know each other very well! Some have known each other for years through things like organizing Knight Rider conventions, while others have become great friends through the social network.  We think it’s great that we can help people connect through a common interest.

What about being a successful Network Creator surprised you the most?
The overwhelmingly positive response we’ve had from all around the world. When people started to send in photos of them from different places around the world, we created Hoff Around the World, in which members send in pictures of themselves either holding a sign that says “Hoff Around the World,” or wearing a Hasselhoff t-shirt. So far we’ve had entries from every single continent (apart from Antarctica of course).  One English guy remembered to take his T-shirt to China so he could send in an entry from the Great Wall!

What features do you use on your network most prominently and how do those drive your network?
Blogs, photos, videos are all easy to update and make sure that our network is totally unique. We have exclusive videos of David doing everything; from swimming with sharks, to making a wish in a Buddhist temple, to singing on a Parisian street.  We let the content drive the network and we ask people to submit videos, photos and stories from their lives in the same way that David does, which really helps make it a true community.

Do you manage any other networks?
Yes! Cafe Belle Gray, which is Lisa Rinna’s new Ning network just launched on Dec. 9.  We’re hoping for an excellent response there, too.

What advice would you give someone who wants to create a network?
As mentioned earlier, connect with your members and have a really strong, guiding voice to the network.

Connect through the magic of the movies

Movie Fans is a network for movie lovers to connect, talk about and recommend movies. If you love foreign films, zombie movies, film noir, medieval movies or simply want to know what’s next on Blue-Ray, this network has got it!

Movie Fans is a great example of a network that has successfully distributed network management to the network members!

Network Creator and former Netflix employee, droidmaker, needed a little help managing Movie Fans. With more than 6,500 members, he called in reinforcements to keep the network in check. “The key is to distribute labor,” he said. With the help of 23 Netflix Ninjas, a group of active members that help droidmaker manage the network, the network runs smoothly, at least on the surface.

“The Netflix Ninjas do not agree with each other,” droidmaker said with a laugh. “They usually fight.”

When decisions or compromises can’t be met among the Ninjas, droidmaker steps in. “I make sure they all feel heard but then I make a decision. I can’t run the network without the Ninjas.”

Check out the great discussions and get advice about what next to put in your Netflix queue from this well managed network, Movie Fans!

A social network for a Broadway show?

13 The Musical Fansite is the official fan network for the Broadway musical, Thirteen. This is the first time we’ve seen a social network created in support of a Broadway show and it’s a great example of a few helpful tricks to make your social network successful.

Network Creator and Thirteen producer Ken Davenport understood that he needed to market this network differently from his other social network, BroadwaySpace, as it was mainly geared towards teenagers. The social networking idea for a fansite “exploded right away.”

Marketing events were introduced in order to get members fast. “I think a great social network is like a [spinning] top,” Ken said, “If you spin it at the right angle with the right speed at the beginning, it should spin by itself for a long long time.”

To spin the top, teens were invited to a full dress rehearsal of the show, which they had to RSVP for on the Events section of the network. This required them to join the network.

“The biggest challenge is to make sure you are feeding these people with activities,” Ken said. Every so often, Ken makes an effort to keep the top spinning by adding something new. Contests, such as the Commercial Contest, are a great way to keep your members interacting with each other. For smaller networks, you may have to prime the pump by identifying passionate members to participate upfront and spread the word, but it’s worth it.

With an active membership of more than 6,400 members, you can imagine that network administrators of 13 the Musical Fansite have their hands full making sure that everything on the social network stays in order. Especially with an active chat, administrators stay on their toes. An anonymous moderator account, 13 Hall Monitor, watches over the network to make sure that everything on the network is as it should be.

“The goal is to try to get the community active on its own” Ken said, when asked what advice he would give to a budding Network Creator. “[Creating a network] does require more maintenance and support than people think — you do have to monitor and spin that top once in a while. You have to get everyone to buy into it. That’s what creates the social network.”

Life in the District

DCLife Magazine is a network for all those who live in the Capital of the US of A, Washington D.C. Come here to check out all the sights, sounds, smells and flavours of Chocolate City.

Network Creator,, keeps members engaged with forum discussions about the DC real estate market or the enhancement of life through having children.

Members show off their lives in and around Washington through blog posts. Check out the latest headlines that are keeping members entertained! Read up on How Travelers Can Change The World or learn when the next movie screening will be.

If you are one of the many people living in and around Washington, take a look at DCLIFEMagazine and see life from the inside!

A common home for Atheists

Think Atheist is a network for atheists and non-atheists to come together and toss ideas around and discuss life. Check out the network and find out why “properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived”!

Network Creator, Morgan @ Think Atheist, has done a great job utilizing his Notes feature. You can find 90 notes on the network!

Members are incredibly active on forum discussions, and post any videos and photos. Check out the introduction and then delve into the network! Want to know how to explain or even defend atheism? Join a wide range of discussions from dealing with religious people, while being an atheist to science.

If you are an atheist and have been looking for a place where you can talk about life and religion, look no fruther as Think Atheist is a network for you!

Where History comes alive

Living History Worldwide is a network for history buffs and re-enactors from all around the world!

After becoming a member, you will be able to join into the incredible world of the network. Forum discussions range in topics from women in the war to the details of rifles from different eras. Join amazing groups that bring members interested in different eras together, such as World War I, Gettysburg, the Roman Empire, the Wild West, the Civil War and even Pirates! Photos are educational and beautiful as they depict battle and cultural reenactments from all eras of history!

Whether you are a seasoned re-enactor or simply love history, don’t let time pass Living History Worldwide by you.

Know your Neighbors

Neighbors for Neighbors is a network for people who live in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Join this motivated and passionate network that hopes to make their neighborhood a safer and better place to live.

Network Creator Joseph Porcelli, also the Network Creator of the Mug Project and E-13/Jamaica Plain Neighbors Network, created the network to provide a place for the residents and businesses and organizations of Jamaica Plain, Mass. to connect with each other. Many events have been posted in order to bring the neighborhood closer together! Get your kids together for the Kids Music Camp while you take a Horticulture walking tour, or bring the entire family together at the 10th Annual Lantern Festival.

Forum discussions are highly active with topics ranging from community supported agriculture to a local yoga studio. Join groups of neighbors that share common interests! Find a volunteer opportunity, care for Beecher Park or simply get together with your neighbors for a friendly board game!

Whether you are a resident, business, organization or simply someone who wants to see a great neighborhood come together, Neighbors for Neighbors demands a closer look!