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.

Categories: Facebook, Safety & Privacy, Social Networking

1 comment

  • Commonly I do not read through posting on websites, nevertheless i want to state that this particular write-up really pushed everyone to consider as well as do it! Your writing style have been shocked everyone. Thank you so much, quite good article.

    Posted by: payless design on October 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

Add your comments, thoughts, and recommendations:

  • (your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly)
  • (optional)



    Why WebOver50?

    You'd like to learn more about social networking, blogs, and other web tools. But who's got the time, and where do you start?

    That's where we come in. We'll sort through the jungle of web apps and tell you what's WebOver50-friendly and fun. We'll tell you how to web-surf safely. And we'll explain things in plain English--no jargon or web speak.

    It's easy to subscribe!
    Just enter your e-mail address in the subscribe field. You'll get new posts delivered to your inbox.