February 9, 2010

The best-designed social networks on Ning

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Zabitatz

Guest post by Suzanne Reinfranck
Socialmediabusinesssolutions

We’ve long been fans of Ning, an innovative social platform that brings millions of people together every day to explore and express their interests, discover new passions and meet people around shared pursuits. With more than 1.9 million Ning networks created and 40 million registered users, this social space continues to grow at an explosive rate.

Laura Oppenheimer, Ning marketing manager

Laura Oppenheimer, Ning marketing manager

A few things differentiate Ning from most other social platforms:

• It has pioneered the market for people to self-organize around the “what” rather than the “who” in social networking

• It enables communities to organize around interests and passions and fully express what makes them unique.

• Ning offers a fairly wide degree of flexibility in customizing the look and feel of your site.

We asked Laura Oppenheimer, Ning’s marketing manager, for some of her favorite nonprofit and social change sites. Here are Laura’s picks of “beautifully designed/professional Ning Networks both generally, and specific to nonprofit organizations,” along with our capsule descriptions:

7 well-designed Ning networks

Expedition-Republic

1. The Expedition Republic

Mountain Hardwear’s The Expedition Republic is an online social network where climbers, explorers and other nomadic souls can merge, mingle and discuss their thrill-seeking passions. The site is highly interactive and provides lively forums and exciting video clips, as well as member profiles, blog posts, photos and relevant links. This online community is engaging and also provides an excellent venue to get sound advice on high-quality gear and products needed for expeditions.

2. Zabitatz.com

Zabitatz (pictured at top) is a fun and welcoming online forum that encourages passionate members to meet and share advice, insight and inspiration about everything home-related. It is a one-stop site that fosters participation between experts and novices to share ideas such as home decorating, gardening, household finances and more. The site describes itself the ultimate “collaborative” community where members enthusiastically help each other gain valuable insight into anything regarding the home environment. It’s an online version of leaning over the backyard fence to get neighborly advice. Members are encouraged to ask questions, post a replies and provide relevant links.

3. My Photo Finish Records

4. Design Democracy (this site recently moved elsewhere)

5. Wired’s Haiti Rewired

6. PublicVoice.tv

7. Brooklyn Art Project (pictured below)

Brooklyn-Art-Project

You’ll notice that only one of these contains “ning” in the url.

6 well-designed nonprofit Ning networks

freeDIMENSIONAL

1. freeDIMENSIONAL

freeDIMENSIONAL (fD) is a nonprofit that advances social justice by hosting activists in art spaces and using cultural resources to strengthen their work. The organization provides services and safe havens for oppressed activists and culture workers, fosters knowledge-sharing among art spaces who actively participate in local community organizing, engages the art world and mainstream media to heighten public awareness and influences policy change on critical issues. fD works with the global arts community to identify and redistribute resources and support meaningful relationships between art spaces and activists. Taking a decentralized approach, fD recognizes the power of strategic partnerships and believes that creative expression fuels social justice movements. As such, fD works with the global arts community to identify and redistribute resources and supports meaningful relationships between art spaces and activists. The group works with local civil society groups, social movements of all scales, arts organizations, schools and independent media outlets to build meaningful grassroots programs.

Social Actions

2. My Social Actions

Social Actions is a nonprofit that works closely with more than 60 online platforms to connect its participants to the issues and causes they’re most passionate about. The organization fosters openness, inclusiveness, collaboration and innovation and envisions a world formed by acts of generosity, and empathy. Social Actions encourages the proliferation of compassionate initiatives and strives to develop and maintain an open source infrastructure that adds a philanthropic layer to the Web.

3. National Marriage Boycott

4. Push Pickens Plan

5. Netroots: The List Project

6. The V Wall for Congo

Ning sites that offer subgroup capabilities

Ning networks can be customized to allow for subgroupings or categorizations by location or topic. Here are two examples that Laura cites:

1. Neighbors for Neighbors (http://www.neighborsforneighbors.org/) is a group of Ning Networks centered around communities in Boston. It includes Jamaica Plain ( http://jamaicaplain.neighborsforneighbors.org/ ) and Allston ( http://allstonbrighton.neighborsforneighbors.org/) with a complete list of neighborhood on the Neighbors for Neighbors site.

2. Reunion Memphis (http://reunionmemphis.ning.com/)  is a group of Ning Networks for graduates of high schools in Memphis, Tenn. It includes Wildcat Roundup (http://wildcatroundup.ning.com/), The High School (http://thehighschool.ning.com) and Whitehaven Alumni (http://whitehavenalumni.ning.com), among others.

Suzanne Reinfranck is the principal of Socialmediabusinesssolutions. This is her first article for Socialbrite.
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37 thoughts on “The best-designed social networks on Ning

  1. Pingback: links for 2010-02-11 | Company K Media

  2. Now a days social networking is hottest thing in our real life. People get new connection and find new friend either from their city, state, country or from abroad. This is also good way to find the people which you have forgot or don’t have their any contact info. Really it’s interesting. on new generation growing social networking site is MySocialPoint.com. People can chat, make blog, search jobs, post classified, watch videos-audios and lots of funny things to do. So why not you join today and get connected with whole world.

  3. Now a days social networking is hottest thing in our real life. People get new connection and find new friend either from their city, state, country or from abroad. This is also good way to find the people which you have forgot or don’t have their any contact info. Really it’s interesting. on new generation growing social networking site is MySocialPoint.com. People can chat, make blog, search jobs, post classified, watch videos-audios and lots of funny things to do. So why not you join today and get connected with whole world.

  4. Those look great, Victor.

    What I'm still waiting to see if whether Ning's decision to curtail free sites will have an impact on sites like this. – jd

  5. since the mid-90's, but in recent years, social networking has exploded across the web. The Web 2.0 initiative has made modern social networking sites increasingly popular and easier to use than the initial wave of sites that launched in the 90's.
    i need to learn one by one page.its niceeeeeeeee.

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  19. I found some political sites powered by Ning have lots of regular fans which shows Ning is really a great platform to build up your own social networking sites. And it could be bigger. I like the design, outlet and functions which are so helpful. Well shared post. Thank you. 
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