What Is Ning?

Taking a Closer Look at Ning's Role in Social Media

Social Media
Photo © Dimitri Otis / Getty Images

Launched in October of 2005, Ning is a social network designed around creating social networks. It invites users to create their own social networks by going through a series of easy steps that include naming their social network, selecting a color scheme, allowing for unique profile questions, and even including their own ads if they want them.

In some ways, Ning is a portal to mini-social networks since you can choose to join any of the thousands of user-created networks, and in other ways, it is a social network development platform.

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Why You Should Use Ning Instead of Other Social Networks

If you're already connected to everyone on existing social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others, then why should you even consider bringing a whole new one into the picture by joining Ning? It's certainly a question worth asking.

Put simply, it's the level of control and customization you get that sets it apart. You can go ahead and set up a Facebook group or start a Twitter chat, but you have to play by Facebook and Twitter's rules. 

Not only do you gain more control over your Ning network -- you also get all the tools and expertise you need to nurture it and watch it grow. Ning claims to have helped people build over two million communities.

Ning can be used to create a fan site for your favorite artist, a social network for your family to enjoy, a place to organize a class reunion, or anything else you want.

The open-ended nature of Ning makes the possibilities limited only by your own imagination.

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Features Ning Offers

So, your own social network might sound pretty good. But how about some details, huh? Here's what you get.

Community features: Build your own forum, allow users to post photos, and even include a "liking" feature similar to Facebook!

Publishing tools: Add a blog or even multiple blogs with SEO optimization, and use whichever popular comment platform you want (Facebook, Disqus, etc.)

Social integration: Allow your users to sign in through an existing social networking account, integrate video sharing platforms like YouTube or Vimeo and enjoy seamless social sharing across all other popular social networks.

 Mobile optimization: Access your social network from mobile devices thanks to its responsive design, and even develop your own optional app using APIs.

Customization: Build the exact look you want for your social network with its intuitive drag-and-drop feature, add your own custom code if you want, and even connect it all up to your own domain name.

Privacy & moderation: Ensure every user has control over their level of privacy, appoint option administrators, moderate content and control spam.

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Updated by: Elise Moreau

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