- Who Is Craig and What’s His List?
- How to Find Free Shipping E-tailers
- How Do Boomers and Seniors Use the Internet?
- 5 Top Sites for Last Minute Travel Deals
- Should You Join Facebook Now?
- Six Tips for Taking the Social Networking Plunge
- Better Bookmarking with Delicious
- Five Reasons You Can’t Afford to Dismiss Facebook and Other Social Networks
- Patient Websites Provide Bridge to Family and Friends
Fear of Facebook? Use NING to Create Your Own Social Network
By Marilynne Rudick on December 2, 2010
An organization that I belong to, The Washington D.C. chapter of The Transitions Network, has an urgent need to use online social networking to communicate with members. The obvious solution is Facebook. But many of the members–over50 women–will not use Facebook because of privacy concerns.
So we looked around for a social networking alternative that meets the chapter’s communications needs:
- Easy and intuitive to set up and use.
- Able to network the entire membership and enable communication within the chapter’s numerous subgroups (book clubs, art safari, gourmet dining, and support groups for women making lifestyle changes).
- Private and secure.
- Free or low cost.
After checking out a lot of tools (including Meetup and Qlubb) we settled on NING. NING makes it easy for anyone to create a customized social network around specific needs and interests. Here’s what we like about NING.
Easy and intuitive. Setup is a snap. Using one of the customizable templates, it took just a few minutes to create the site. You don’t need any programming or design skills.
Before officially launching the NING site, we asked some members–social networking veterans and newbies–to test drive the site. Our testers were pleased with the simplicity and ease of use.
Choose only the features y0u want. Simply drop and drag the icon for the feature you want to your site template: blog, discussion forum, e-commerce, donations, calendar, photos, videos. That means your site isn’t bloated with features your members don’t want or won’t use.
One of the features that we particularly liked was calendar/events. Given the large number of chapter events—monthly chapter meetings, small group events, and workshops–we need a full-featured calendar that will allow group leaders to post events and handle RSVPs.
Strong privacy features. You can make your network private so only members–not the public–have access to your site. Members can control access to their personal profile page (all members or just selected friends). Because NING is tiny compared to Facebook, it ‘s not attractive to hackers and spammers.
Low cost. Like many small organizations, our chapter operates on a shoestring budget. We selected the PRO package that supports an unlimited number of members and subgroups for $19.95 a month.
Would NING work for your group? Sign up for a 30-day free trial and take NING for a test drive.